How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Union 29379
Picking the right dental assistant program near Union SC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Union dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the South 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Union dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the South Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at South Carolina community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Union area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Union home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Union area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the South Carolina colleges you are looking at in order to reach 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 College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Union area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Union area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Union area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Union dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance 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 position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the South Carolina programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 29379 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Union in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Union SCPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.