How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Hayneville 36040
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Hayneville AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools 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 offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Hayneville dental office and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their primary 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 example pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 Hayneville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main 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 assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 offered at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional 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 take 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Hayneville area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Hayneville home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Hayneville area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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. Hayneville area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Hayneville area dental offices 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 college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Hayneville area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select 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, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hayneville dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36040 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Hayneville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Hayneville ALPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.