How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Harvest 35749
Picking the right dental assistant training near Harvest AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Harvest dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Harvest dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Harvest area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Harvest home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Harvest area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Harvest area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Harvest area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as 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 could 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 best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Harvest area dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Harvest dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35749 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Harvest in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Dental College near Harvest ALChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.