How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Lineville 36266
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Lineville AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental 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 offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Lineville dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Lineville dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, 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 usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Lineville area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lineville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. 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 dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Lineville area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lineville area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. 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, most Lineville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Lineville area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lineville 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36266 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Lineville in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental School near Lineville ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree 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 in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.