How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Kelford 27847
Picking the right dental assistant program near Kelford NC is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Kelford dental practice and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Kelford dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at North Carolina community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Kelford area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Kelford home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Kelford area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Kelford area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Kelford area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Kelford area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college 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 programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Kelford dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the North Carolina colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 27847 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Kelford in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Right Dental School near Kelford NCChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically 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 usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.