How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Granite Falls 28630
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Granite Falls NC is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year 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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Granite Falls dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their fundamental 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 North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving 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 differ by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Granite Falls dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at North Carolina community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased 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 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Granite Falls area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Granite Falls home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Granite Falls area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Granite Falls area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Granite Falls area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 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 best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Granite Falls area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Granite Falls dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the North Carolina schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater 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 couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 28630 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Granite Falls in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental College near Granite Falls NCEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.