How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Brantley 36009
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Brantley AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Brantley dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Brantley dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Brantley area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Brantley home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Brantley area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Brantley area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Brantley area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Brantley area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Brantley 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36009 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Brantley in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near Brantley ALPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several 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 acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.