How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Maplesville 36750
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Maplesville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Maplesville dental practice and can undertake a variety of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing 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 handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Maplesville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of 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 sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 offered at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Maplesville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally 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 comfort of your Maplesville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Maplesville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Maplesville area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college 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. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Maplesville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep 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 college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Maplesville area dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical 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 subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Maplesville 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? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36750 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Maplesville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Dental School near Maplesville ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important 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 alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.