How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Greensboro 36744
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Greensboro AL is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Greensboro dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Greensboro dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, 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 a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Greensboro area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Greensboro home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Greensboro area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greensboro area employers typically 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 provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Greensboro area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Greensboro area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides sufficient 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, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Greensboro dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36744 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Greensboro in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Dental School near Greensboro ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.