How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Camp Hill 36850
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Camp Hill AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving 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 complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Camp Hill dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Camp Hill dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Camp Hill area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Camp Hill home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Camp Hill area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Camp Hill area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Camp Hill area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Camp Hill area dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Camp Hill dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, 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 instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume 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 besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36850 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Camp Hill at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Camp Hill ALSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you want 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 acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational 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 usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.