How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Seminole 36574
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Seminole AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually 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 concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Seminole dental office and can undertake a multitude 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 working successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Seminole dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Seminole area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative 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 available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Seminole home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Seminole area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Seminole area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose has 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 earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Seminole area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of Seminole area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Seminole dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alabama schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to 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 training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36574 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must 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 Seminole in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Seminole ALChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.