How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Dolomite 35061
Picking the right dental assistant training near Dolomite AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Dolomite dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Dolomite dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with 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 duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Dolomite area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Dolomite home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Dolomite area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Dolomite area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college 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 work as a hygienist, many Dolomite area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if 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 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, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Dolomite area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like 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 a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Dolomite dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35061 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Dolomite in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Dolomite ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.