How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Camden 36726
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Camden AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Camden dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Camden dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also 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
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 examinations. After 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 Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Camden area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Camden home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Camden area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Camden area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
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 choose 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, most Camden area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Camden area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose 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, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Camden dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alabama schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36726 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Camden in the evenings 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 practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental College near Camden ALEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.