How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Nauvoo 35578
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Nauvoo AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Nauvoo dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing 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 elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Nauvoo dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Nauvoo area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Nauvoo home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus 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 office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Nauvoo area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nauvoo area employers often desire or require that job applicants 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 programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Nauvoo area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Nauvoo area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers 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, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Nauvoo 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 Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with 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. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35578 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Nauvoo in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required 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 emergencies.
Select the Best Dental College near Nauvoo ALChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.