Top Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Sidney KY 41564

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Sidney 41564

dental assistant training in Sidney KYSelecting the right dental hygienist college near Sidney KY is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Sidney dental assistant helping dentist 41564Dental assistants are an integral part of any Sidney dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering 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 mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Sidney dental hygienist treating patient in KentuckyWhen comparing the duties of a Sidney dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing 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 Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Kentucky community colleges along with vocational or technical 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 furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Sidney area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Sidney homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Sidney home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Kentucky dental colleges 41564Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Sidney area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good 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 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sidney area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Sidney 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 excellent reputation as well as 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 might 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 best school for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Sidney area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Sidney dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Kentucky colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 41564 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Sidney at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Select the Right Dental College near Sidney KY

Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive 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 usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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