How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Gaylesville 35973
Picking the right dental assistant training near Gaylesville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Gaylesville dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Gaylesville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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 supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Gaylesville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Gaylesville home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Gaylesville area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Gaylesville area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Gaylesville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Gaylesville area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Gaylesville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35973 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Gaylesville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental School near Gaylesville ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.