How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Green Pond 35074
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Green Pond AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Green Pond dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Green Pond dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may 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 in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Green Pond area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Green Pond home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Green Pond area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Green Pond area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Green Pond area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Green Pond area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Green Pond dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35074 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Green Pond in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Green Pond ALPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.