How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Millerville 36267
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Millerville AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Millerville dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- 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 differ 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 licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Millerville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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 supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered 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 provided at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Millerville area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Millerville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice 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 dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Millerville area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to reach 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 right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Millerville 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, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Millerville area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Millerville area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Millerville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length 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 have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36267 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Millerville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental Program near Millerville ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.