How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Dover 41034
Picking the right dental assistant training near Dover KY is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Dover dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Dover dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, work 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 also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Kentucky junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of 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 Dover area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Dover home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Dover area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Kentucky programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Dover area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose 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, many Dover area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Dover area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Dover dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Kentucky programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses 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 41034 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Dover in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dental College near Dover KYEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively 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 schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.