How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Mount Sterling 40353
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Mount Sterling KY is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Mount Sterling dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Mount Sterling dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky 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 each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform 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
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Kentucky community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Mount Sterling area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Mount Sterling home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Mount Sterling area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Mount Sterling area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt 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 alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Mount Sterling area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Mount Sterling area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Mount Sterling 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Kentucky colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 40353 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Mount Sterling at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental College near Mount Sterling KYSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant 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 numerous alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.