How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Repton 36475
Picking the right dental assistant college near Repton AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Repton dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Repton 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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 licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Repton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Repton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Repton area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program 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. Repton area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose 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. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Repton 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 an exceptional reputation and 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Repton area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Repton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs 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. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36475 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 particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Repton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental Program near Repton ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.