How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Jefferson 28640
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Jefferson NC is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Jefferson dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance 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 receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Jefferson dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at North Carolina community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast 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 as well. Some programs also offer internships with Jefferson area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Jefferson home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Jefferson area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Jefferson area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has 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 work as a hygienist, a large number of Jefferson area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Jefferson area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest 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.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Jefferson dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the North Carolina schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28640 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Jefferson at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Jefferson NCPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.