How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Oneonta 35121
Picking the right dental assistant training near Oneonta AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually 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 issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Oneonta dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Oneonta dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired 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 assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Oneonta area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Oneonta home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Oneonta area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Oneonta area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Oneonta area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Oneonta area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Oneonta dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35121 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Oneonta at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical 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.
Find the Best Dental School near Oneonta ALEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of 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 acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.