How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Bon Air 35032
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Bon Air AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Bon Air dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Bon Air dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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 a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 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 assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Bon Air area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bon Air home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. 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 get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Bon Air area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bon Air area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Bon Air area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Bon Air area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Bon Air dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35032 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Bon Air at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Best Dental School near Bon Air ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.