How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Tryon 28782
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Tryon NC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Tryon dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Tryon dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at North Carolina junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of 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 Tryon area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Tryon home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Tryon area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the North Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Tryon area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select 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 work as a hygienist, the majority of Tryon area dental practices 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 a good reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Tryon area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Tryon dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the North Carolina programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 28782 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Tryon at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Tryon NCChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.