How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Cowarts 36321
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Cowarts AL is an important initial 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 completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Cowarts dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Cowarts dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Cowarts area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a viable 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 accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Cowarts home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Cowarts area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important 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 condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cowarts area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Cowarts area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Cowarts area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Cowarts dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant 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. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36321 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to 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 go to classes near Cowarts at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Cowarts ALPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.