How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Sylvania 35988
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Sylvania AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Sylvania dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- 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 vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Sylvania dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Sylvania area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Sylvania home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Sylvania area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sylvania area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Sylvania area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Sylvania area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sylvania dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering 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 large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35988 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Sylvania 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental School near Sylvania ALSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.