How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Richburg 29729
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Richburg SC is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Richburg dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Richburg dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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 assisting the South Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at South Carolina community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of 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 require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Richburg area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Richburg home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Richburg area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the South Carolina colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Richburg area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select has 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 earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Richburg area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Richburg area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an 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 practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Richburg dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the South Carolina schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29729 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Richburg at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Richburg SCPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant 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 numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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.