How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Fort Mitchell 36856
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Fort Mitchell AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess 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 school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Fort Mitchell dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Fort Mitchell dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. 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 gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Fort Mitchell area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Fort Mitchell home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Fort Mitchell area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fort Mitchell area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often 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 confirm that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Fort Mitchell area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Fort Mitchell area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical 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 want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Fort Mitchell dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36856 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Fort Mitchell in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental School near Fort Mitchell ALPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.