How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Hollins 35082
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Hollins AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Hollins dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Hollins dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared 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 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Hollins area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hollins home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Hollins area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, 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 help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hollins area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Hollins area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep 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, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Hollins area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Hollins dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35082 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Hollins in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Hollins ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.