How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Maylene 35114
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Maylene AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Maylene dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing 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 regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Maylene dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably 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 supporting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Maylene area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Maylene home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Maylene area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Maylene area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Maylene area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Maylene area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Maylene dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alabama colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience 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 differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35114 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Maylene in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Dental College near Maylene ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial 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 receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.