How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Fitzpatrick 36029
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Fitzpatrick AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Fitzpatrick dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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
When contrasting the job of a Fitzpatrick dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Fitzpatrick area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Fitzpatrick home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Fitzpatrick area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fitzpatrick area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Fitzpatrick area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Fitzpatrick area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Fitzpatrick dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance 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 refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one 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 level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36029 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Fitzpatrick in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental College near Fitzpatrick ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.