How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Spring Garden 36275
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Spring Garden AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Spring Garden dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing 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 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 dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Spring Garden dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, 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 normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Spring Garden area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Spring Garden home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Spring Garden area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Spring Garden area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select 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. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Spring Garden 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 school has an exceptional reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Spring Garden area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Spring Garden dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at 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 community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36275 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Spring Garden in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Spring Garden ALChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to 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 in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.