How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Brewton 36426
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Brewton AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Brewton dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing 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 need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Brewton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. 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 every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once 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 & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Brewton area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Brewton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Brewton area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Brewton area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Brewton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as 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 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 right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Brewton area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Brewton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, 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 significant expenses 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36426 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Brewton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Brewton ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.