How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near West Union 29696
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near West Union SC is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any West Union dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of South Carolina dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a West Union dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the South Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at South Carolina junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with West Union area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your West Union home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, 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 reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing West Union area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the South Carolina colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final 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 assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. West Union area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many West Union area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of West Union area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers 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, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real West Union dental practice. They help 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 Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the South Carolina colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 29696 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near West Union in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near West Union SCSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.