How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Five Points 36855
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Five Points AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally 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 concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Five Points dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving 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 regulations. Assistants handling 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Five Points dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Five Points area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Five Points home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Five Points area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Five Points area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college 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, most Five Points area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and 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 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 college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Five Points area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Five Points dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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 Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater 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 most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36855 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Five Points at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Five Points ALEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.