How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Hope Hull 36043
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Hope Hull AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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 time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Hope Hull dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Hope Hull dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common 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. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of 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 sponsor internships with Hope Hull area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Hope Hull home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Hope Hull area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hope Hull area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Hope Hull area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and 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 could 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 best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Hope Hull area dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Hope Hull dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate 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 private or public also come into play. But along with 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36043 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Hope Hull in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Hope Hull ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working 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 obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.