How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Walterboro South Carolina
Picking the right dental assistant college near Walterboro SC is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Walterboro SC dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing 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 vary by state, so check with the South Carolina dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Walterboro SC practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When 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 & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at South Carolina community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Walterboro SC dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in South Carolina trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Walterboro SC home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting 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 get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing South Carolina programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Walterboro SC area programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Walterboro SC typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited South Carolina programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the South Carolina college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Walterboro SC dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Walterboro SC area college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Walterboro SC 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Walterboro SC dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Walterboro SC area colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, 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 teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Walterboro SC.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Walterboro SC home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Assistant School near Walterboro SC
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about one year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided 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 assistant in Walterboro SC.
Tell Me About Walterboro South Carolina
Walterboro, South Carolina
Walterboro is a city in Colleton County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 5,398 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Colleton County. Walterboro is located 48 miles (77 km) west of Charleston and is located near the ACE Basin region in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Walterboro (originally spelled "Walterborough") was founded in 1783 as a summer retreat for local planters looking to escape their malaria-ridden, Lowcountry plantations. The original settlement was located on a hilly area, covered with pine and hickory trees and named "Hickory Valley". Two of the earliest settlers were Paul and Jacob Walter. The two brothers owned plantations in nearby Jacksonboro. Paul's small daughter Mary was taken ill with malaria, a common disease amongst the families who built their plantations in the marshy areas of the Lowcountry, suitable to rice production. To save Mary's life the two brothers went looking for a more healthy location in which to live during the summer months and started the town that was later named for them. In 1817, Walterboro was named the third county seat of Colleton County, and has remained such until the present. This was followed by the construction of a county courthouse and jail in 1821, the courthouse being design by well-known architect Robert Mills. The town quickly spread out from the original Hickory Valley location, its population growth fueled successively by the town becoming the county seat in 1821, the establishment of a railroad line connecting the city with Columbia and Charleston in the 1880s, the establishment of an airfield in the 1930s and more recently the establishment of Interstate 95 in the 1960s, making the town a prime overnight stop on the road to Florida or New York.
In 1942, Walterboro became home to the Walterboro Army Air Field, a sub-base of Columbia Army Air Base and part of the overall network of army air training facilities that sprang up across the US during World War II. The base was established to provide advanced air combat training to fighter and bomber groups. It also hosted the largest camouflage school in the United States, as well as a 250-person prisoner of war camp. In 1944 the airfield changed commands and became an advanced combat training base for individual fighters, primarily the black trainees graduating from Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. Over 500 of the famed Tuskegee Airmen trained at Walterboro Army Air Field between April 1944 and October 1945, including individuals training as replacement pilots for the 332nd Fighter Squadron and the entire 447th Bombardment Group. The base closed in October 1945 and returned to its origins as a local airfield.
Today Walterboro is dotted with historic homes dating back to 1820, and a downtown that has kept many of its historic buildings. The city has become increasingly known as an antiquing destination and is a popular day trip from Charleston and Beaufort.
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