How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Mathews 36052
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Mathews AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Mathews dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ 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 licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Mathews dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting 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 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 can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Mathews area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving 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 available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Mathews home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Mathews area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Mathews area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Mathews area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Mathews area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Mathews dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36052 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Mathews at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Mathews ALPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect 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 best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.