How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Campbell 36727
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Campbell AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant 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 getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months 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 explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Campbell dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Campbell dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Campbell area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Campbell home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened 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 necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Campbell area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Campbell area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Campbell area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Campbell area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Campbell dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alabama programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are 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 leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36727 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Campbell at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Campbell ALEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided 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 hygienist or assistant.