How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Goose Creek 29445
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Goose Creek SC is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Goose Creek dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 South Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Goose Creek dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once 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 and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at South Carolina junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Goose Creek area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Goose Creek home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Goose Creek area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the South Carolina colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Goose Creek area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Goose Creek 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 an exceptional reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Goose Creek area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Goose Creek dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the South Carolina schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29445 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Goose Creek in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Goose Creek SCPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.