How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Stoneville 27048
Picking the right dental assistant program near Stoneville NC is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Stoneville dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of North Carolina dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Stoneville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier 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 interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at North Carolina community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Stoneville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Stoneville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Stoneville area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the North Carolina schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant 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 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. Stoneville area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that you want. 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 Stoneville area dental offices 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 excellent 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 might 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Stoneville area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Stoneville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the North Carolina programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level 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 based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 27048 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Stoneville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical 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.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Stoneville NCPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.