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Accredited Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Groveoak AL 35975

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Groveoak 35975

dental assistant training in Groveoak ALPicking the right dental assistant college near Groveoak AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including 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 depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Groveoak dental assistant helping dentist 35975Dental assistants are an integral part of any Groveoak dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering office and dental supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Groveoak dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen comparing the job of a Groveoak dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Education Options

Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Groveoak area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Groveoak homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Groveoak home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.

What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 35975When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Groveoak area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Groveoak area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Groveoak area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Groveoak area dental programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish 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 ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Groveoak dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges 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 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 evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35975 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Groveoak at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Find the Ideal Dental Program near Groveoak AL

Choosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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