How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Faunsdale 36738
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Faunsdale AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Faunsdale dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Faunsdale dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure 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 Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Faunsdale area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Faunsdale home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Faunsdale area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Faunsdale area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Faunsdale area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Faunsdale area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Faunsdale 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs 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 community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ 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 whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36738 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Faunsdale in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Faunsdale ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.