How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Edwardsville 36261
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Edwardsville AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish 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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing 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 a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Edwardsville dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Edwardsville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously 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 an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast 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 two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Edwardsville area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Edwardsville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Edwardsville area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial factors 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 provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Edwardsville area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Edwardsville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Edwardsville area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Edwardsville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36261 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Edwardsville at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Dental School near Edwardsville ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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.