How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Swepsonville 27359
Picking the right dental hygienist training near Swepsonville NC is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Swepsonville dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Swepsonville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at North Carolina junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Swepsonville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Swepsonville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually 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 appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Swepsonville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Swepsonville area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose has 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Swepsonville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, 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 college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Swepsonville area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Swepsonville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the North Carolina schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 27359 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Swepsonville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near Swepsonville NCEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively 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 programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.