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Search For Dental Hygienist Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Daphne AL 36526

How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Daphne 36526

dental assistant training in Daphne ALChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Daphne AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing 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 Dental Assistants

Daphne dental assistant helping dentist 36526Dental assistants are an essential part of any Daphne dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:

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

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need 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 Role of Dental Hygienists

Daphne dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen contrasting the duties of a Daphne dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients about oral hygiene
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Daphne area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Classes

attending dental assistant school online in Daphne homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Daphne home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 36526After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Daphne area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many 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 prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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. Daphne area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. 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 Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options 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 Daphne area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Daphne area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Daphne dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36526 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Daphne in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Ideal Dental College near Daphne AL

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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