How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Anderson 35610
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Anderson AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically 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 talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Anderson dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon 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
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Anderson dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Anderson area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Anderson home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain 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.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Anderson area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anderson area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Anderson area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Anderson area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Anderson dental practice. They make it easier for 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 Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing 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 in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35610 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Anderson at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental School near Anderson ALSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.