How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Lincolnton 28092
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Lincolnton NC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. 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 expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Lincolnton dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Lincolnton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at North Carolina community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Lincolnton area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Lincolnton home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Lincolnton area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the North Carolina colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lincolnton area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? 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 choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Lincolnton area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Lincolnton area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Lincolnton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the North Carolina schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large 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 so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28092 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Lincolnton at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental School near Lincolnton NCChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.