How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Margaret 35112
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Margaret AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Margaret dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Margaret dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, 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 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 carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 have graduated 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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Margaret area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Margaret home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office 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 method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Margaret area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Margaret area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Margaret area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Margaret area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Margaret dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35112 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Margaret at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental College near Margaret ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.