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Top Dental Assistant Colleges | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Brundidge AL 36010

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Brundidge 36010

dental assistant training in Brundidge ALSelecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Brundidge AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Duties of Dental Assistants

Brundidge dental assistant helping dentist 36010Dental assistants are an integral part of any Brundidge dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing office and dental supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing 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 choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Brundidge dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen contrasting the role of a Brundidge dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Brundidge area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Brundidge homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally 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 Brundidge home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some 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 also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right choice for you.

Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 36010Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Brundidge area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brundidge area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide 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 options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Brundidge area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Brundidge area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Brundidge 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 also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36010 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Brundidge at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.

Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Brundidge AL

Enrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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