How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Washington 27889
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Washington NC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Washington dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the North 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 elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Washington dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at North Carolina community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Washington area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Washington home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Washington area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the North Carolina programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Washington 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, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Washington area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Washington area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers adequate 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, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Washington dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the North Carolina schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 27889 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Washington in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental School near Washington NCSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.