How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Duncanville 35456
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Duncanville AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Duncanville dental office and can perform a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary 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 licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Duncanville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of 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 frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out 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 hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Duncanville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Duncanville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Duncanville area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Duncanville area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Duncanville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Duncanville area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Duncanville dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are 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 most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35456 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Duncanville at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 issues.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Duncanville ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.