How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Saint Catharine 40061
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Saint Catharine KY is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Saint Catharine dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Saint Catharine dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform 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
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Kentucky community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Saint Catharine area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Saint Catharine home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Saint Catharine area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Saint Catharine area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Saint Catharine area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Saint Catharine area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides 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, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Saint Catharine dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Kentucky schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses 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 costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 40061 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Saint Catharine in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Saint Catharine KYSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.