Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Garden City KS 67846

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Garden City 67846

dental assistant training in Garden City KSPicking the ideal dental assistant program near Garden City KS is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually 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 talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Garden City dental assistant helping dentist 67846Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Garden City dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Kansas dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:

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

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Kansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Garden City dental hygienist treating patient in KansasWhen comparing the duties of a Garden City dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kansas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results 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
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Kansas junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Garden City area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Garden City homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Garden City home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Kansas dental colleges 67846Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Garden City area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Kansas colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Garden City area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered 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 college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Garden City area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Garden City area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Garden City 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 Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Kansas schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 67846 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Garden City at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find the Right Dental College near Garden City KS

Choosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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