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Accredited Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Brierfield AL 35035

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Brierfield 35035

dental assistant training in Brierfield ALChoosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Brierfield AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Brierfield dental assistant helping dentist 35035Dental assistants are an integral part of any Brierfield dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with 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 Dental Hygienists

Brierfield dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen comparing the duties of a Brierfield dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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, 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 every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Brierfield area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Brierfield homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% 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 convenience of your Brierfield home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 35035Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Brierfield area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Brierfield area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Brierfield area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Brierfield area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Brierfield dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, 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 level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35035 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Brierfield at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Select the Ideal Dental School near Brierfield AL

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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