How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Danville 35619
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Danville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations 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 typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Danville dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Danville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, 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 first person a patient interacts with 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. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Danville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Danville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting 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 necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Danville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Danville area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Danville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Danville area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Danville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35619 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting 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 will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Danville at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental School near Danville ALPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.