How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Higdon 35979
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Higdon AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical 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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Higdon dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Higdon dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main 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 supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying 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 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common 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 comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Higdon area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Higdon home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Higdon area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Higdon area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Higdon area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Higdon area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical 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 kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Higdon dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 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 make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35979 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Higdon at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dental Program near Higdon ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. 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 normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.