Search For Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Wallace SC 29596

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Wallace 29596

dental assistant training in Wallace SCChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Wallace SC is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Wallace dental assistant helping dentist 29596Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Wallace dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying 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
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

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

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Wallace dental hygienist treating patient in South CarolinaWhen comparing the duties of a Wallace dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are available at South Carolina junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Wallace area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Wallace homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Wallace home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask South Carolina dental colleges 29596Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Wallace area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the South Carolina colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Wallace area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Wallace area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Wallace area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers 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 college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Wallace dental practice. They make it easier for 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? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the South Carolina schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29596 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Wallace at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical 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 responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Dental School near Wallace SC

Enrolling in the ideal 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 we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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