How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Glenwood 36034
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Glenwood AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months 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. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Glenwood dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Glenwood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Glenwood area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Glenwood home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Glenwood area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glenwood area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on offers 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Glenwood area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Glenwood area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select 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, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Glenwood dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36034 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Glenwood at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Ideal Dental Program near Glenwood ALSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.