How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Tuskegee 36083
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Tuskegee AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Tuskegee dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Tuskegee dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier 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 sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Tuskegee area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Tuskegee home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Tuskegee area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several 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 program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning 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 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. Tuskegee area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right 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 choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Tuskegee area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Tuskegee area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Tuskegee dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges 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 profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36083 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Tuskegee in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Tuskegee ALChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.