How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Kuttawa 42055
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Kuttawa KY is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer 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 assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Kuttawa dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Kuttawa dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Kentucky community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating 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 generally 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 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 Kuttawa area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Kuttawa home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Kuttawa area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Kuttawa area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
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 select has the program that you want. 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 Kuttawa area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 could 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 ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Kuttawa area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Kuttawa dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching 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 large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Kentucky programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 42055 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Kuttawa at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Kuttawa KYPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.