How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Auburn 36830
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Auburn AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Auburn dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Auburn dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Auburn area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Auburn home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Auburn area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should 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 assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. 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, many Auburn area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Auburn area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Auburn dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing 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 in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, 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 significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36830 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Auburn in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental College near Auburn ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training 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 practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.