How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Montrose 36559
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Montrose AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at 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 integral component of any Montrose dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- 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
- Readying X-ray machines and handling 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. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Montrose dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously 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 an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Montrose area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Montrose home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Montrose area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Montrose area employers often desire 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 available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Montrose 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 school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Montrose area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Montrose dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36559 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Montrose at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Montrose ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing 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 certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.