How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Jemison 35085
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Jemison AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Jemison dental practice and can undertake a variety of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- 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 office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect 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 comparing the duties of a Jemison dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. 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 Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased 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 two to as long as three years to complete 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Jemison area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Jemison home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Jemison area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, 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 provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jemison area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on has 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 work as a hygienist, the majority of Jemison area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most Jemison area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Jemison dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering 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 community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35085 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Jemison in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Jemison ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.