How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Gantt 36038
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Gantt AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving 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 normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Gantt dental office and can carry out a variety 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 successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Gantt dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously 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 an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Gantt area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Gantt home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Gantt area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gantt area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose has 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, many Gantt area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Gantt area dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Gantt dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges 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 internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36038 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Gantt 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 have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Gantt ALSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.