Bluegrass Community & Technical College and West Kentucky Community and Technical College are the only schools in Kentucky that have accredited dental care assistant training programs. Both are under the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) as two-year public schools, and they are comparatively young institutions. Bluegrass, based in the second-largest city in the state (Lexington) was founded in 2005. West Kentucky had been established in Paducah, a city in western Kentucky, two years earlier. The dental care assistant programs of both schools are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
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Dental Assistant Schools in KentuckyAs part of the same community college system, Bluegrass and West Kentucky use virtually the same curriculum, which comprises the Diploma in Dental Assisting program. Students are required to take between 38 and 45 credits for completion of the program, which takes up to four semesters to complete. The first of two summer semesters can be dedicated to pre-requisite courses, which are in subject areas like anatomy and physiology, basic anatomy, written and oral communications, psychology, and digital literacy. The rest of the program runs through the subsequent fall, spring, and summer semesters. Subject areas that the core courses cover include infection control and medical emergencies, dental materials, oral pathology and radiology, and office management. Also included are classes for practical experience or workplace simulation. Bluegrass offers the addition option of enrolling in the Dental Assisting/Dental Hygiene Integrated Program, which trains people in becoming dental hygienists. A step above dental care assistants, dental hygienists handle additional and more advanced duties, including specialization in oral hygiene.
SALARIES FOR DENTAL AID/ASSISTANTS IN KENTUCKYIn 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that dental care assistants in Kentucky made an annual mean wage of $31,310, or $15.06 per hour. By comparison, the annual mean salary of dental care assistants in the United States is $35,080 ($16.86 per hour). In 2010, the BLS estimated the number of dental care assistants in Kentucky at 4,010 in 2010. The agency expects a decade-long job growth of 28 percent, outpacing the national growth rate by 3 percent.
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