How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Columbiana 35051
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Columbiana AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Columbiana dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Columbiana 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Columbiana area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Columbiana home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Columbiana area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, 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 establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Columbiana area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Columbiana area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most Columbiana area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers 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, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Columbiana 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few 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 Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35051 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Columbiana at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental School near Columbiana ALChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.