How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Douglas 35964
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Douglas AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. 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 offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Douglas dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Douglas dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Douglas area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Douglas home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Douglas area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Douglas area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Douglas area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Douglas area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Douglas dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor 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 Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35964 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Douglas in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental School near Douglas ALEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.