How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Rogersville 35652
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Rogersville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Rogersville dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping 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 mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Rogersville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably 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 supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added 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 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Rogersville area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Rogersville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Rogersville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. 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 exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Rogersville area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Rogersville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Rogersville area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Rogersville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35652 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Rogersville at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Rogersville ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several 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 acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.