How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Greensburg 42743
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Greensburg KY is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college’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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Greensburg dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Greensburg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Kentucky junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Greensburg area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Greensburg home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Greensburg area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greensburg area employers frequently prefer 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 provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Greensburg area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Greensburg area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical 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 subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Greensburg dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at 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 the Classrooms Small? Check with the Kentucky colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 42743 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Greensburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near Greensburg KYPicking the right 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 you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.