How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Slocomb 36375
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Slocomb AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Slocomb dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Slocomb dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- 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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Slocomb area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Slocomb home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Slocomb area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Slocomb area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Slocomb area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Slocomb area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Slocomb dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36375 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Slocomb at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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.
Pick the Best Dental College near Slocomb ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.