How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Springville 35146
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Springville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training 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 school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Springville dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving 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 mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Springville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out 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 care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Springville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Springville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending 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 lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Springville area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Springville area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Springville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, 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 college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Springville area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Springville 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Alabama schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger 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 leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35146 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Springville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental College near Springville ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.