How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Erie 66733
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Erie KS is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing 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 significant factors to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Erie dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Kansas dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Kansas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 job of a Erie dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kansas practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform 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
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Kansas community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared 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 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. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Erie area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Erie home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Erie area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Kansas colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Erie area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Erie area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if 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 strong 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 school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Erie area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Erie dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Kansas schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 66733 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Erie in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Erie KSSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect 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 in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.