How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Hollywood 35752
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Hollywood AL is an essential first step toward launching 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 selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Hollywood dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Hollywood dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Hollywood area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind 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 accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Hollywood home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Hollywood area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hollywood area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you choose 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. In order to work as a hygienist, most Hollywood area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Hollywood area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers sufficient 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 regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Hollywood 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. 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, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35752 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Hollywood in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Hollywood ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.