How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Union Springs 36089
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Union Springs AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Union Springs dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Union Springs dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Union Springs area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes 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 personal computer in the convenience of your Union Springs home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Union Springs area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Union Springs area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Union Springs area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because 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 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, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Union Springs area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Union Springs dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36089 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Union Springs 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Union Springs ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning 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 presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.