How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near South Mills 27976
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near South Mills NC is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools 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 offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any South Mills dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult 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. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a South Mills dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, deal 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 teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at North Carolina junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with South Mills area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your South Mills home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing South Mills area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, 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. South Mills area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that you want. 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, a large number of South Mills area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of South Mills area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real South Mills dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges 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 large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the North Carolina schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 27976 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near South Mills in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Right Dental College near South Mills NCChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.