Find Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Great Bend KS 67530

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Great Bend 67530

dental assistant training in Great Bend KSChoosing the right dental assistant training near Great Bend KS is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing 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 Dental Assistants

Great Bend dental assistant helping dentist 67530Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Great Bend dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Kansas dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Kansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Great Bend dental hygienist treating patient in KansasWhen contrasting the role of a Great Bend dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kansas practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Kansas junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Great Bend area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Great Bend homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Great Bend home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.

Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Kansas dental colleges 67530Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Great Bend area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kansas schools 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 final selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Great Bend area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Great Bend area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 ideal school for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Great Bend area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Great Bend dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Kansas programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 67530 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Great Bend at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Select the Ideal Dental College near Great Bend KS

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative 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 receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to 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 in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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