How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Sandy Springs 29677
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Sandy Springs SC is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional 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 offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Sandy Springs dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some South Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Sandy Springs dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the South Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. 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 Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at South Carolina junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Sandy Springs area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Sandy Springs home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting 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 required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Sandy Springs area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the South Carolina colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sandy Springs area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Sandy Springs 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 college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Sandy Springs area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Sandy Springs dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the South Carolina schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 29677 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Sandy Springs in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, 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.
Find the Right Dental Program near Sandy Springs SCSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community 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 working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training 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.