How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Clarkson 42726
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Clarkson KY is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Clarkson dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 duties of a Clarkson dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Kentucky community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one 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 assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Clarkson area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Clarkson home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Clarkson area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Kentucky programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Clarkson area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Clarkson area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Clarkson area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Clarkson dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form 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 colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Kentucky colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, 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 costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 42726 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Clarkson at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have 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 due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental College near Clarkson KYEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your training 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend 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 right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.