How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Ashville 35953
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Ashville AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Ashville dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Ashville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can 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 along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Ashville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Ashville home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Ashville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Ashville area employers often desire 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 obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt 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, a large number of Ashville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Ashville area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Ashville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if 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 comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35953 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Ashville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, 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 need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental Program near Ashville ALSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required 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 period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive 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 job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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 assistant or hygienist.