How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Pennington 36916
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Pennington AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally 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 programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Pennington dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Pennington dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, 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 frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Pennington area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Pennington home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Pennington area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pennington area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Pennington area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Pennington area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Pennington dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36916 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Pennington in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Pennington ALEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally 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 usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.