How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Magnolia 36754
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist training near Magnolia AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months 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 expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Magnolia dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Magnolia dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out 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
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one 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. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Magnolia area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Magnolia home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Magnolia area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished 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 many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Magnolia area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Magnolia area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Magnolia area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like 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 services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Magnolia dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools 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 profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36754 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Magnolia in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental School near Magnolia ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually 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 approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.