How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Letohatchee 36047
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Letohatchee AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Letohatchee dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Letohatchee 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 in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually 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 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 clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Letohatchee area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Letohatchee home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added 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 receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Letohatchee area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Letohatchee area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Letohatchee area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Letohatchee area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Letohatchee dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36047 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Letohatchee at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Letohatchee ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.