How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Hestand 42151
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Hestand KY is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 money and time 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns 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 duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Hestand dental practice and can perform a variety 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 successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ 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. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Hestand dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically 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 perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 courses are offered at Kentucky junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Hestand area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Hestand home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Hestand area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hestand area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Hestand area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and 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, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Hestand area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hestand dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask 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 profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Kentucky programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, 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 level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent 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 private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 42151 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Hestand in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental Program near Hestand KYSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive 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 about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.