Accredited Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Merry Hill NC 27957

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Merry Hill 27957

dental assistant training in Merry Hill NCChoosing the right dental hygienist school near Merry Hill NC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing 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, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Merry Hill dental assistant helping dentist 27957Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Merry Hill dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance 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, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office 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 more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Merry Hill dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen comparing the duties of a Merry Hill dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also 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
  • Educating patients regarding 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at North Carolina junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Merry Hill area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Merry Hill homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Merry Hill home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office 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 discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 27957After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Merry Hill area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the North Carolina schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Merry Hill area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Merry Hill area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Merry Hill area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides sufficient 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, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Merry Hill dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the North Carolina colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 27957 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Merry Hill at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Pick the Ideal Dental College near Merry Hill NC

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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