Find Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Pike Road AL 36064

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Pike Road 36064

dental assistant training in Pike Road ALChoosing the right dental hygienist training near Pike Road AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing 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 a Dental Assistant

Pike Road dental assistant helping dentist 36064Dental assistants are an integral part of any Pike Road dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Pike Road dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen contrasting the duties of a Pike Road dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first 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 responsibilities can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Pike Road area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Pike Road homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Pike Road home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually 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 proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online college is the ideal option for you.

Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 36064When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Pike Road area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pike Road area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select offers 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 earn a living as a hygienist, many Pike Road area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Pike Road area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers enough 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, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Pike Road dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama colleges you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36064 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Pike Road in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Dental School near Pike Road AL

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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