How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Morgantown 42261
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Morgantown KY is an essential 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 completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally 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 discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Morgantown dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling 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 handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Morgantown dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kentucky 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 teeth and gums and report their findings 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once 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 and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Kentucky community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Morgantown area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Morgantown home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Morgantown area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Kentucky schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Morgantown area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Morgantown area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college 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, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Morgantown area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Morgantown dental practice. They make it easier for 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Kentucky colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 42261 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Morgantown at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental College near Morgantown KYChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.