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Top Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Dawson AL 35963

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Dawson 35963

dental assistant training in Dawson ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant school near Dawson AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete 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. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Dawson dental assistant helping dentist 35963Dental assistants are an integral component of any Dawson dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most 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) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Dawson dental hygienist treating patient in AlabamaWhen contrasting the role of a Dawson dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, 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 first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

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

In order to be licensed in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Dawson area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Dawson homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Dawson home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Alabama dental colleges 35963Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Dawson area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Dawson area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Dawson area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 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 ideal college for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Dawson area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Dawson 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 are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama programs you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent 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 come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35963 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Dawson in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Select the Best Dental School near Dawson AL

Choosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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