Accredited Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Red Oak NC 27868

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Red Oak 27868

dental assistant training in Red Oak NCPicking the right dental hygienist program near Red Oak NC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Red Oak dental assistant helping dentist 27868Dental assistants are an integral part of any Red Oak dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist

Red Oak dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen comparing the role of a Red Oak dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

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

In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at North Carolina community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Red Oak area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Red Oak homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Red Oak home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.

What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 27868After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Red Oak area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the North Carolina colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Red Oak area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Red Oak 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 each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Red Oak area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Red Oak dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the North Carolina colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 27868 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Red Oak in the evenings 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 practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Pick the Right Dental College near Red Oak NC

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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