How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Fackler 35746
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Fackler AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining 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. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Fackler dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Fackler dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously 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 an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Fackler area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Fackler home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Fackler area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fackler area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Fackler 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 exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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 Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Fackler area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Fackler dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require 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. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession 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 schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35746 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Fackler in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Fackler ALEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.