How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Point Clear 36564
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Point Clear AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Point Clear dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Point Clear dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting 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 each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Point Clear area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Point Clear home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Point Clear area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Point Clear area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Point Clear area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Point Clear area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Point Clear dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges 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 community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36564 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Point Clear in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental Program near Point Clear ALPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.