How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Kent 36045
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Kent AL is an important first step toward beginning 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 picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time 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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should 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 provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Kent dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling 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 working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Kent dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Kent area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Kent home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Kent area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Kent area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Kent area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Kent area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers sufficient 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, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Kent dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36045 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Kent in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Dental School near Kent ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.