How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Bremen 35033
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Bremen AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Bremen dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Bremen dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, 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 an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each 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 duties may 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
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating 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 offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Bremen area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bremen home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced 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 required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Bremen area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bremen area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided 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 certain that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Bremen area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent 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 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 right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Bremen area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Bremen dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35033 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Bremen at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental Program near Bremen ALSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.