How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Epes 35460
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Epes AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the program’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 are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Epes dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing 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 mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Epes dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work 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 every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Epes area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Epes home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually 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 proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Epes area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Epes area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
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 school you select offers the program that you want. 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, most Epes area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Epes area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Epes dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35460 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Epes at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need 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.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Epes ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.