How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Marion Junction 36759
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Marion Junction AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors 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 getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Marion Junction dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Marion Junction dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Marion Junction area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Marion Junction home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Marion Junction area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe 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 colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Marion Junction area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Marion Junction area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Marion Junction area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides sufficient 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, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Marion Junction dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36759 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to 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 must go to classes near Marion Junction 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dental School near Marion Junction ALPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.