How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Fort Rucker 36362
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Fort Rucker AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Fort Rucker dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Fort Rucker dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Fort Rucker area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fort Rucker home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Fort Rucker area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fort Rucker area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Fort Rucker area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Fort Rucker area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Fort Rucker dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check 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 community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36362 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Fort Rucker in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental School near Fort Rucker ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.