How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Albertville 35950
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Albertville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete 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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Albertville dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. 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 decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Albertville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, 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 usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Albertville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Albertville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Albertville area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Albertville area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, most Albertville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Albertville area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers 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 choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Albertville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35950 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Albertville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Albertville ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. 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 working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.