Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Bowling Green KY 42101

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Bowling Green 42101

dental assistant training in Bowling Green KYChoosing the ideal dental assistant training near Bowling Green KY is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Bowling Green dental assistant helping dentist 42101Dental assistants are an important component of any Bowling Green dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their main 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 Kentucky dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying 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 check with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Bowling Green dental hygienist treating patient in KentuckyWhen contrasting the duties of a Bowling Green dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings 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 and developing X-rays
  • 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Kentucky junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Bowling Green area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Bowling Green homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Bowling Green home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online program is the ideal choice for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Kentucky dental colleges 42101When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Bowling Green area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bowling Green area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Bowling Green area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Bowling Green area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Bowling Green dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help 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 placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Find out from the Kentucky colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 42101 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Bowling Green 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 protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Dental College near Bowling Green KY

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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