How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Frankfort 40601
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Frankfort KY is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Frankfort dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Kentucky dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Frankfort dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky 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 every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After 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 Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Kentucky community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Frankfort area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Frankfort home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Frankfort area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Frankfort area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Frankfort area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Frankfort area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Frankfort dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Kentucky colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses 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 the 40601 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Frankfort at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental College near Frankfort KYSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.