How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Fruitdale 36539
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Fruitdale AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing 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 as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first 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 money and time that you are willing 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. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Fruitdale dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Fruitdale dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Fruitdale area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fruitdale home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Fruitdale area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fruitdale area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Fruitdale area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Fruitdale area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient 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, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Fruitdale dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alabama schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36539 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Fruitdale in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Fruitdale ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically 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 approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.