How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Megargel 36457
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Megargel AL is an essential first 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 much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Megargel dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing 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 differ by state, so check 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. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Megargel dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Megargel area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Megargel home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Megargel area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to 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 help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Megargel area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives 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 Megargel area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Megargel area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Megargel dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining 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 community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36457 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Megargel at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Find the Best Dental Program near Megargel ALChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.