How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Bankston 35542
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Bankston AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally 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 cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Bankston dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing 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 policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Bankston dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Bankston area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Bankston home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Bankston area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important 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 requirement in almost 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bankston area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Bankston area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Bankston area dental schools 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 kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Bankston dental practice. They help 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 Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35542 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Bankston in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental Program near Bankston ALEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.