How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Quincy 41166
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Quincy KY is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Quincy dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Kentucky dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Quincy dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously 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 frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Kentucky community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Quincy area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Quincy home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Quincy area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few 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 supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Quincy area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Quincy area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. 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 strong 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 ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Quincy area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Quincy dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Kentucky programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 41166 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Quincy at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental College near Quincy KYEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.