How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Scottsboro 35768
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Scottsboro AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Scottsboro dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Scottsboro dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared 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 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Scottsboro area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Scottsboro home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Scottsboro area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Scottsboro area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you decide on 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. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Scottsboro area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Scottsboro area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Scottsboro 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35768 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Scottsboro in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental College near Scottsboro ALChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist 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 many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs 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 two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining 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 ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.