Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Tigerville SC 29688

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Tigerville 29688

dental assistant training in Tigerville SCChoosing the ideal dental assistant program near Tigerville SC is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Tigerville dental assistant helping dentist 29688Dental assistants are an important component of any Tigerville dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping 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 South Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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

Tigerville dental hygienist treating patient in South CarolinaWhen contrasting the role of a Tigerville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 responsibilities can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After 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 Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are available at South Carolina junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result 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 require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Tigerville area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Tigerville homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Tigerville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask South Carolina dental colleges 29688Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Tigerville area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the South 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 best dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tigerville area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college 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 have a career as a hygienist, many Tigerville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Tigerville area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides 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, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Tigerville dental practice. They help 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 Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the South Carolina programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent 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 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29688 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Tigerville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical 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 emergencies.

Pick the Best Dental College near Tigerville SC

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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