Accredited Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Pathfork KY 40863

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Pathfork 40863

dental assistant training in Pathfork KYChoosing the right dental hygienist school near Pathfork KY is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing 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 Dental Assistants

Pathfork dental assistant helping dentist 40863Dental assistants are an important component of any Pathfork dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Pathfork dental hygienist treating patient in KentuckyWhen contrasting the duties of a Pathfork dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Kentucky community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Pathfork area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Pathfork homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Pathfork home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the best choice for you.

Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Kentucky dental colleges 40863After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Pathfork area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Pathfork area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Pathfork area dental practices 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 exceptional reputation and 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best 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 college options also. Many Pathfork area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Pathfork 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 Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Kentucky schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment 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, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 40863 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Pathfork in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Pick the Best Dental School near Pathfork KY

Picking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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