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Search For Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Brent AL 35034

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Brent 35034

dental assistant training in Brent ALPicking the right dental assistant training near Brent AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues 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 assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Brent dental assistant helping dentist 35034Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Brent dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists

Brent dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen contrasting the job of a Brent dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, 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 encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may 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 as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Brent area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Brent homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Brent home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 35034When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Brent area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brent area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Brent area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good 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, naturally it would not be the best school for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of Brent area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Brent dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher 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 the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alabama schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school 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 Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35034 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Brent in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required 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 issues.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental Program near Brent AL

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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