How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Hurtsboro 36860
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Hurtsboro AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting 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 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Hurtsboro dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing 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 policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Hurtsboro dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal 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 every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed 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 as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Hurtsboro area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Hurtsboro home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Hurtsboro area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hurtsboro area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on has 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 Hurtsboro area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong 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 ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Hurtsboro area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Hurtsboro dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36860 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Hurtsboro in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Hurtsboro ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade 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 about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.