How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Addison 35540
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Addison AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties 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 usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally 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 colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Addison dental office and can carry out a myriad 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 successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Addison dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Addison area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Addison home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Addison area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Addison area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Addison area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Addison area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Addison dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alabama schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be 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 most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35540 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Addison at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Addison ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.