How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Maple 27956
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Maple NC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Maple dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many North Carolina dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental 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 working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 job of a Maple dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at North Carolina community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Maple area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Maple home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Maple area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the North Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, 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. Maple area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Maple area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Maple area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Maple dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the North Carolina programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs 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 27956 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Maple at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Maple NCSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.