How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Manhattan 66502
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Manhattan KS is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs 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 component of any Manhattan dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Kansas dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Kansas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Manhattan dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kansas practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth 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
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Kansas junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Manhattan area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Manhattan home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Manhattan area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Kansas colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Manhattan area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Manhattan area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as 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 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 right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Manhattan area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Manhattan 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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 Small? Find out from the Kansas schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 66502 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Manhattan at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Manhattan KSSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.