How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Akron 35441
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Akron AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Akron dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide 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 Akron dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Akron area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Akron home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online 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 program is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Akron area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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. Akron area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Akron area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong 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 Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Akron area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Akron 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering 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 broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35441 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Akron in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Akron ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.