How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Maggie Valley 28751
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Maggie Valley NC is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Maggie Valley dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some North Carolina dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Maggie Valley dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each 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 duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at North Carolina junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have 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 virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Maggie Valley area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Maggie Valley home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Maggie Valley area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the North Carolina colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Maggie Valley area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Maggie Valley area dental practices 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 each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Maggie Valley area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Maggie Valley 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the North Carolina colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28751 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Maggie Valley at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental College near Maggie Valley NCChoosing 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 you now know, there are a number of options offered 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.