How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Waynesburg 40489
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Waynesburg KY is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Waynesburg dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping 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 mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Waynesburg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Kentucky community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Waynesburg area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for getting 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 remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Waynesburg home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Waynesburg area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Kentucky colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Waynesburg 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 offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Waynesburg area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Waynesburg area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Waynesburg dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Kentucky programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary 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 whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 40489 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Waynesburg 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Waynesburg KYChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education 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 as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.