How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Dadeville 36853
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Dadeville AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Dadeville dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Dadeville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed 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 programs are provided at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Dadeville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Dadeville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Dadeville area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dadeville area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Dadeville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Dadeville area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Dadeville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost 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 if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36853 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Dadeville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Dental Program near Dadeville ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination 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 receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 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 credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.