How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Georgiana 36033
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Georgiana AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Georgiana dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Georgiana dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Georgiana area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Georgiana home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Georgiana area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. 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 arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Georgiana area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Georgiana area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear 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 school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Georgiana area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides 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 program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Georgiana dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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 Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate 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 public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36033 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Georgiana at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical 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.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Georgiana ALPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect 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 right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.