How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Hazel Green 35750
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Hazel Green AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally 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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Hazel Green dental practice and can perform a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Hazel Green dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. 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 often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once 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 and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive 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 offices are often required to hold 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Hazel Green area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hazel Green home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Hazel Green area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hazel Green area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Hazel Green 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 a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid 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, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Hazel Green area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers 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, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Hazel Green 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35750 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Hazel Green at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need 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 due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Best Dental Program near Hazel Green ALEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.