How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Wentworth 27375
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Wentworth NC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations 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 common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish 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. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Wentworth dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying 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 deviate by state, so consult with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Wentworth dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing 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 Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at North Carolina community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because 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 take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Wentworth area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Wentworth home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Wentworth area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Wentworth area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose has 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, many Wentworth area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Wentworth area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Wentworth dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs 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 employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the North Carolina colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to 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 so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate 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 if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 27375 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Wentworth at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Wentworth NCSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.