Accredited Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Swannanoa NC 28778

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Swannanoa 28778

dental assistant training in Swannanoa NCSelecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Swannanoa NC is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Swannanoa dental assistant helping dentist 28778Dental assistants are an integral component of any Swannanoa dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some North Carolina dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing 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 working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Swannanoa dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen contrasting the job of a Swannanoa dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 an individual 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 present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After 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 Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at North Carolina community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less 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 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Swannanoa area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Swannanoa homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Swannanoa home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 28778Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Swannanoa area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the North Carolina schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Swannanoa area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Swannanoa area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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 best college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Swannanoa area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Swannanoa dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the North Carolina schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28778 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Swannanoa at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Pick the Ideal Dental College near Swannanoa NC

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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