How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Kennedy 35574
Picking the right dental assistant school near Kennedy AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Kennedy dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Kennedy dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, 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 often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Kennedy area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Kennedy home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Kennedy area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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. Kennedy area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Kennedy area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Kennedy area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Kennedy 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35574 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? 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 getting your education and need to go to classes near Kennedy at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Kennedy ALChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally 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 typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.