How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Berry 35546
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Berry AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Berry dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Berry dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Berry area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Berry home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Berry area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Berry area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Berry area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Berry area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Berry dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alabama schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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, don’t forget to include 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 grants, loans and scholarships in the 35546 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Berry at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Dental School near Berry ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous 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 education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 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 choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.