How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Hope 67451
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Hope KS is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine 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 crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Hope dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Kansas dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Kansas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Hope dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kansas practice, deal 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 every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Kansas junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Hope area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hope home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Hope area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Kansas colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hope area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. 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 Hope area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Hope area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hope dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Ask 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 community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Kansas programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense 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 factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 67451 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Hope in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental School near Hope KSSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.