How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Creola 36525
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Creola AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, 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 expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Creola dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Creola dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 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 gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with Creola area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Creola home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Creola area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of 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 due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Creola area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Creola area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Creola area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Creola dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36525 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Creola in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical 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 emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Creola ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.