Top Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Proctorville NC 28375

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Proctorville 28375

dental assistant training in Proctorville NCPicking the ideal dental assistant program near Proctorville NC is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as 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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Proctorville dental assistant helping dentist 28375Dental assistants are an essential component of any Proctorville dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing 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 differ by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Proctorville dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen comparing the duties of a Proctorville 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 assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are available at North Carolina junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Proctorville area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Proctorville homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Proctorville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 28375Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Proctorville area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the North Carolina colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college 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. Proctorville area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Proctorville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 could 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 Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Proctorville area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Proctorville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the North Carolina programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28375 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Proctorville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Pick the Best Dental Program near Proctorville NC

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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