How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Allgood 35013
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Allgood AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Allgood dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary 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 licensed and certified. 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Allgood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive 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 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Allgood area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Allgood home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Allgood area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Allgood area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Allgood area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Allgood area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Allgood dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good 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? Find out from the Alabama schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35013 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Allgood in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Dental College near Allgood ALPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.