Accredited Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Hillsboro KY 41049

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Hillsboro 41049

dental assistant training in Hillsboro KYChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Hillsboro KY is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges 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 Duties of Dental Assistants

Hillsboro dental assistant helping dentist 41049Dental assistants are an important part of any Hillsboro dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists

Hillsboro dental hygienist treating patient in KentuckyWhen comparing the role of a Hillsboro dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

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

To qualify for licensing 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 deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Kentucky junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Hillsboro area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Hillsboro homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Hillsboro home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best option for you.

Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Kentucky dental colleges 41049Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Hillsboro area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hillsboro area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select has 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, many Hillsboro area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Hillsboro area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient 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 school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Hillsboro dental practice. They make it easier for 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 as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Kentucky schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college 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 Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 41049 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Hillsboro at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical 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 emergencies.

Find the Ideal Dental Program near Hillsboro KY

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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