How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Foley 36535
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Foley AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Foley dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Foley dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal 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 present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish 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 working in dental practices are often required to have 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 nearly 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 clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Foley area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Foley home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Foley area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Foley area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Foley area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many Foley area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Foley dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36535 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Foley at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Foley ALSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 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 choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.