How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Greenville 29601
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Greenville SC is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional 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 Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Greenville dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal 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 South Carolina dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing 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 certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Greenville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at South Carolina community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive 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 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 finish 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 as well. Many programs also offer internships with Greenville area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Greenville home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Greenville area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the South Carolina schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greenville area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Greenville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Greenville area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select 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 looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Greenville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the South Carolina colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29601 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Greenville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Greenville SCEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.