How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Petrey 36062
Picking the right dental assistant program near Petrey AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Petrey dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 duties of a Petrey dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier 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 an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Petrey area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Petrey home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Petrey area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Petrey area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Petrey area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Petrey area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Petrey 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 Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36062 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure 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 Petrey at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Petrey ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.