How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Marion 36756
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Marion AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Marion dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Marion dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously 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 room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Marion area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Marion home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Marion area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Marion area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Marion area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and 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 might 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 best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Marion area dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides adequate 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, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Marion dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs 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. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36756 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Marion in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental Program near Marion ALEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.