How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Tomahawk 41262
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Tomahawk KY is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Tomahawk dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental 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 more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Tomahawk dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- 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 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 licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Kentucky junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. 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 Tomahawk area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Tomahawk home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Tomahawk area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Kentucky programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tomahawk area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select offers 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. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Tomahawk area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Tomahawk area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Tomahawk dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Kentucky programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 41262 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Tomahawk in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental College near Tomahawk KYEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.