How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Flomaton 36441
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Flomaton AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically 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 cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Flomaton dental office and can carry out a myriad 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 operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate 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. 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Flomaton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, 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 room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can 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 almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Flomaton area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Flomaton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Flomaton area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Flomaton area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Flomaton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Flomaton area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Flomaton 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance 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 large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36441 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Flomaton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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 responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental College near Flomaton ALChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.