Accredited Dental Hygienist Training | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Sardis AL 36775

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Sardis 36775

dental assistant training in Sardis ALChoosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Sardis AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Sardis dental assistant helping dentist 36775Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Sardis dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Sardis dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen contrasting the duties of a Sardis dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier 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 initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Sardis area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Sardis homeSelecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Sardis home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 36775After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Sardis area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Sardis area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Sardis area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Sardis area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sardis dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36775 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Sardis at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Right Dental College near Sardis AL

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally 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 generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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