How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Owenton 40359
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Owenton KY is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Owenton dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect 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 duties of a Owenton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 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 and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Kentucky junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because 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 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Owenton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Owenton home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Owenton area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Owenton area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Owenton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Owenton area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Owenton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Kentucky colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend 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 enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 40359 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Owenton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Owenton KYEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.