How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Aliceville 35442
Picking the right dental assistant program near Aliceville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Aliceville dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Aliceville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. 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 an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Aliceville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Aliceville home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office 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 dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Aliceville area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Aliceville area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Aliceville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Aliceville area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Aliceville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35442 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Aliceville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental Program near Aliceville ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two 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 credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.