How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Blue Mound 66010
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Blue Mound KS is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must 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 school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Blue Mound dental office and can perform a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Kansas dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Kansas dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Blue Mound dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kansas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. 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 courses are available at Kansas community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold 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 nearly 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 sponsor internships with Blue Mound area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Blue Mound home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Blue Mound area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kansas programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid 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 nearly all states. In order 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Blue Mound area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Blue Mound area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may 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 Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Blue Mound area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Blue Mound dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Kansas schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 66010 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Blue Mound at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Blue Mound KSChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your education 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.