How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Ardmore 35739
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Ardmore AL is an important initial step toward starting 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 program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Ardmore dental practice and can perform a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Ardmore dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After 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 Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Ardmore area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Ardmore home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Ardmore area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Ardmore area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Ardmore area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Ardmore area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices 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 kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Ardmore dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish 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 need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out 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 profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35739 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Ardmore in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dental College near Ardmore ALPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior 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 working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.