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Accredited Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Clio AL 36017

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Clio 36017

dental assistant training in Clio ALPicking the right dental hygienist program near Clio AL is an essential initial 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 far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Clio dental assistant helping dentist 36017Dental assistants are an integral part of any Clio dental office and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing 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 policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Clio dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen comparing the role of a Clio dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed 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 available at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Clio area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Schools

attending dental assistant school online in Clio homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Clio home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical 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 appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 36017Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Clio area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Clio area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Clio area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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 Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Clio area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Clio 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 are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36017 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Clio at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Dental College near Clio AL

Selecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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