How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Fort Davis 36031
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Fort Davis AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Fort Davis dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Fort Davis dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of 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 first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Fort Davis area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a good alternative for getting your education. 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Fort Davis home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Fort Davis area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fort Davis area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable 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 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 work as a hygienist, most Fort Davis area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could 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 Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Fort Davis area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Fort Davis dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget 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 36031 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Fort Davis in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Fort Davis ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant 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 offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.