How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Highland Home 36041
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Highland Home AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties 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 common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Highland Home dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Highland Home dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Highland Home area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Highland Home home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Highland Home area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. 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 examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Highland Home area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Highland Home area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Highland Home area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate 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, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Highland Home dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, 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 teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36041 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Highland Home at nights 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 practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Highland Home ALSelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential 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 options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 programs generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree 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 better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.