How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Faison 28341
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Faison NC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Faison dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Faison dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at North Carolina community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Faison area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Faison home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Faison area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the North Carolina colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Faison area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Faison area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Faison area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Faison dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the North Carolina programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28341 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Faison at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental College near Faison NCPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.