How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Langley 29834
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Langley SC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Langley dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of South Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Langley dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the South Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at South Carolina community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually 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 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 component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Langley area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Langley home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Langley area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the South Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Langley area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select offers 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Langley area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college 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 might 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Langley area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Langley 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 Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the South Carolina programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29834 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Langley in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Langley SCPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn 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 about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.