How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Banks 36005
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Banks AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Banks dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Banks dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Banks area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Banks home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Banks area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Banks area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Banks area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Banks area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Banks dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36005 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Banks at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental College near Banks ALEnrolling in 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 several options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.