How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Liberty 42539
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Liberty KY is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Liberty dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Liberty dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 assisting the Kentucky practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When 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 Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Kentucky junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned 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. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Liberty area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great option for getting 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 rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Liberty home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Liberty area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Kentucky schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Liberty area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Liberty area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Liberty area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Liberty dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Kentucky colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 42539 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Liberty at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need 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 responsibilities.
Select the Best Dental School near Liberty KYPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.