Accredited Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Oak Grove KY 42262

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Oak Grove 42262

dental assistant training in Oak Grove KYPicking the ideal dental assistant training near Oak Grove KY is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Oak Grove dental assistant helping dentist 42262Dental assistants are an important part of any Oak Grove dental office and can perform a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Oak Grove dental hygienist treating patient in KentuckyWhen comparing the job of a Oak Grove dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, 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 typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once 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 & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Kentucky junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing 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 Oak Grove area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Oak Grove homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Oak Grove home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools

Questions to ask Kentucky dental colleges 42262When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Oak Grove area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Oak Grove area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Oak Grove area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Oak Grove area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Oak Grove 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 graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Kentucky schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college 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 Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 42262 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Oak Grove at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find the Right Dental College near Oak Grove KY

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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