How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Furman 36741
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Furman AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Furman dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling 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 most likely will have 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Furman dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier 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 an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Furman area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Furman home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Furman area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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. Furman area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Furman area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Furman area dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Furman dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience 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 programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36741 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Furman in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Best Dental College near Furman ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.