How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Eva 35621
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Eva AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually 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 talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Eva dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Eva dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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, deal 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 every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Eva area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Eva home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Eva area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eva area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Eva area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Eva area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an 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 practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Eva dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering 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 in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35621 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Eva in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental College near Eva ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.