Top Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near White Oak NC 28399

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near White Oak 28399

dental assistant training in White Oak NCSelecting the ideal dental hygienist program near White Oak NC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

White Oak dental assistant helping dentist 28399Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any White Oak dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some North Carolina dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the North Carolina dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

White Oak dental hygienist treating patient in North CarolinaWhen comparing the job of a White Oak dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the North Carolina practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

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

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. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at North Carolina community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with White Oak area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in White Oak homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your White Oak home or elsewhere 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 rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.

What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask North Carolina dental colleges 28399When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing White Oak area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the North Carolina programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. White Oak area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of White Oak area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most White Oak area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real White Oak 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 Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Find out from the North Carolina programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 28399 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near White Oak in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near White Oak NC

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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