How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Lanett 36863
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Lanett AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze 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 school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as 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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Lanett dental office and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Lanett dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar 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 almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once 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 Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Lanett area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lanett home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical 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 get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Lanett area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist 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 examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lanett area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Lanett area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school 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 might 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 right college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Lanett area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Lanett dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36863 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Lanett at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental Program near Lanett ALPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.