How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Leighton 35646
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Leighton AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Leighton dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping 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 regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Leighton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, 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 frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to have 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Leighton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Leighton home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Leighton area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Leighton area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Leighton area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Leighton area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Leighton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness 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 schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35646 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Leighton at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Dental College near Leighton ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.