How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Saratoga 27873
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Saratoga NC is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Saratoga dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the North 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 decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Saratoga 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 supporting the North Carolina practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report 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
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- 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 exams. When 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 Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at North Carolina junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Saratoga area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Saratoga home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Saratoga area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the North Carolina programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Saratoga area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Saratoga area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Saratoga area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient 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, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Saratoga dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs 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 profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the North Carolina programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 27873 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Saratoga at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental College near Saratoga NCEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.