Accredited Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Aberdeen NC 28315

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Aberdeen 28315

dental assistant training in Aberdeen NCPicking the right dental assistant program near Aberdeen NC is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns 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 assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Aberdeen dental assistant helping dentist 28315Dental assistants are an important part of any Aberdeen dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Aberdeen dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen comparing the job of a Aberdeen dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

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

To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are available at North Carolina junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Aberdeen area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Aberdeen homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Aberdeen home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right option for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 28315When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Aberdeen area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the North Carolina schools 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 due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Aberdeen area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Aberdeen area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Aberdeen area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Aberdeen 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 look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the North Carolina programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs 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 include 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 28315 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Aberdeen at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Find the Best Dental Program near Aberdeen NC

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period 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 normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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