How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Daviston 36256
Picking the right dental assistant program near Daviston AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Daviston dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling 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 dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Daviston dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, 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 an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed 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 Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 virtually 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 component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Daviston area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Daviston home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Daviston area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished 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 a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Daviston area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Daviston area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Daviston area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Daviston dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36256 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Daviston at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental College near Daviston ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn 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 prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented 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 hygienist or assistant.