Accredited Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Travelers Rest SC 29690

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Travelers Rest 29690

dental assistant training in Travelers Rest SCSelecting the ideal dental assistant program near Travelers Rest SC is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at 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 a Dental Assistant

Travelers Rest dental assistant helping dentist 29690Dental assistants are an essential part of any Travelers Rest dental practice and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Travelers Rest dental hygienist treating patient in South CarolinaWhen contrasting the role of a Travelers Rest dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in almost 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 as well as any state licensure 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 courses are offered at South Carolina community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Travelers Rest area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Travelers Rest homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Travelers Rest home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.

Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask South Carolina dental colleges 29690Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Travelers Rest area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the South Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Travelers Rest area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Travelers Rest area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep 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 solid 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, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Travelers Rest area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Travelers Rest dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the South Carolina programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29690 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Travelers Rest 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 protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find the Best Dental School near Travelers Rest SC

Choosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive 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 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 practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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