How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Brookwood 35444
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Brookwood AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Brookwood dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling 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 dealing 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) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Brookwood 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 in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 finish 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Brookwood area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Brookwood home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Brookwood area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brookwood area employers typically prefer or require that new hires 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 programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose 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 options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Brookwood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Brookwood area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Brookwood dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35444 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Brookwood in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental College near Brookwood ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly 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 normally 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 roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.