How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Leesburg 35983
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Leesburg AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. 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 cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Leesburg dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Leesburg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Leesburg area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Leesburg home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Leesburg area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, 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. Leesburg area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Leesburg area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Leesburg area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Leesburg dental practice. They help 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 colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35983 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 especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Leesburg at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental College near Leesburg ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.