How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Linwood 27299
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Linwood NC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing 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, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Linwood dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Linwood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed 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 offered at North Carolina community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Linwood area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Linwood home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Linwood area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the North Carolina colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Linwood area employers frequently desire 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 Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices 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 Linwood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Linwood area dental colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Linwood dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the North Carolina colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 27299 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Linwood in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Linwood NCSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.