How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Hatchechubbee 36858
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Hatchechubbee AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Hatchechubbee dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Hatchechubbee dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Hatchechubbee area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hatchechubbee home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Hatchechubbee area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few 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 final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hatchechubbee area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Hatchechubbee area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Hatchechubbee area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Hatchechubbee 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36858 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Hatchechubbee 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Hatchechubbee ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools normally 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 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.