Find Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Hardinsburg KY 40143

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Hardinsburg 40143

dental assistant training in Hardinsburg KYPicking the right dental hygienist school near Hardinsburg KY is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually 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 cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Hardinsburg dental assistant helping dentist 40143Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Hardinsburg dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Kentucky dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing 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 policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Hardinsburg dental hygienist treating patient in KentuckyWhen contrasting the role of a Hardinsburg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Kentucky community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 also. Many programs also offer internships with Hardinsburg area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Hardinsburg homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hardinsburg home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best option for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Kentucky dental colleges 40143After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Hardinsburg area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Kentucky schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hardinsburg area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Hardinsburg area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school 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 Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Hardinsburg area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hardinsburg dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Kentucky programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 40143 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Hardinsburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, 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 have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Hardinsburg KY

Selecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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