How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Walton 41094
Picking the right dental assistant program near Walton KY is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Walton dental office and can perform a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Kentucky dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Walton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must 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 may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Kentucky junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Walton area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program 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 Walton home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Walton area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Kentucky colleges 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 ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Walton area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Walton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Walton area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Walton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Kentucky programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 41094 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Walton at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Walton KYPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend 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 in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.