How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Stanton 36790
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Stanton AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the school’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 time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Stanton dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Stanton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Stanton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Stanton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Stanton area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Stanton area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Stanton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Stanton area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Stanton dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36790 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Stanton at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Dental School near Stanton ALSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.