How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Mentone 35984
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Mentone AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically 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 discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Mentone dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Mentone dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Mentone area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Mentone home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Mentone area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Mentone area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify 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 work as a hygienist, many Mentone area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good 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 right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many Mentone area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Mentone dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward 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 assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35984 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Mentone at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental Program near Mentone ALSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.