How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Greenville 36037
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Greenville AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the school’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 commit. The most common dental assistant program normally 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 complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Greenville 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 efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing 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 regulations. 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) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Greenville dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges along with 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, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional 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 require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Greenville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Greenville home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Greenville area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greenville area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Greenville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Greenville area dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Greenville dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36037 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Greenville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Greenville ALEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.