Top Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Erlanger KY 41018

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Erlanger 41018

dental assistant training in Erlanger KYSelecting the ideal dental assistant program near Erlanger KY is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally 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 cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Erlanger dental assistant helping dentist 41018Dental assistants are an essential part of any Erlanger dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists

Erlanger dental hygienist treating patient in KentuckyWhen comparing the job of a Erlanger dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of 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 usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. 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 responsibilities may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. 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 Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Kentucky junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Erlanger area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Erlanger homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Erlanger home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. 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 obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Kentucky dental colleges 41018After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Erlanger area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky programs you are looking at in order to reach 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 right dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Erlanger area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Erlanger area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, clearly it would not be the best school for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Erlanger area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Erlanger dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering 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 profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Kentucky programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend 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 students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost dependent 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 public or private 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 41018 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Erlanger at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Pick the Best Dental College near Erlanger KY

Picking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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