How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Lansing 66043
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Lansing KS is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically 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 cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Lansing dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Kansas dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Kansas dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Lansing dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably 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, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Kansas junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Lansing area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Lansing home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Lansing area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Kansas programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, 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 ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lansing area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. 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, the majority of Lansing area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Lansing area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lansing dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Kansas colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense 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, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 66043 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure 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 have to attend classes near Lansing in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Lansing KSEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.