How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Dewitt 40930
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Dewitt KY is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Dewitt dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Dewitt dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Kentucky community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Dewitt area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Dewitt home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Dewitt area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dewitt area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Dewitt area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if 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 college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Dewitt area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Dewitt dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Kentucky schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on 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 Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 40930 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Dewitt at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Dewitt KYSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.