How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Greensburg 67054
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Greensburg KS is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Greensburg dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Kansas dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Kansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Greensburg 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kansas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Kansas junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Greensburg area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Greensburg home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Greensburg area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Kansas colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greensburg area employers often prefer or require that job applicants 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 colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has 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. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Greensburg area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Greensburg area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Greensburg dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing 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 in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Kansas schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 67054 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Greensburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental College near Greensburg KSChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.