How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Kinston 36453
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Kinston AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns 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 assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Kinston dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Kinston dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out 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
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Kinston area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Kinston home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Kinston area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Kinston area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. 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, a large number of Kinston area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Kinston area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Kinston dental practice. They help 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36453 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Kinston in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental Program near Kinston ALPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.