How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Hillsboro 35643
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Hillsboro AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations 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 usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Hillsboro dental practice and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Hillsboro dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed 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 as well as vocational or technical 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 assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade 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 also. Many programs also offer internships with Hillsboro area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Hillsboro home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Hillsboro area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hillsboro area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Hillsboro area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Hillsboro area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Hillsboro 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at 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 in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35643 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Hillsboro at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dental College near Hillsboro ALChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.