Accredited Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Gates NC 27937

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Gates 27937

dental assistant training in Gates NCChoosing the right dental hygienist program near Gates NC is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Gates dental assistant helping dentist 27937Dental assistants are an integral component of any Gates dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Gates dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen contrasting the duties of a Gates dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at North Carolina community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Gates area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Gates homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Gates home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 27937After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Gates area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the North Carolina programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gates area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Gates area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Gates area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Gates dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Find out from the North Carolina schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 27937 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Gates in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Pick the Ideal Dental College near Gates NC

Choosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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