How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Hunter 67452
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Hunter KS is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Hunter dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Kansas dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Kansas dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Hunter dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kansas practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When 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 & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Kansas community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Hunter area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Hunter home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Hunter area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Kansas schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, 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. Hunter area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Hunter area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear 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 college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Hunter area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hunter dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Kansas colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 67452 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Hunter in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental College near Hunter KSPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.