How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Mooresville 35649
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Mooresville AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Mooresville dental office and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- 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 dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Mooresville 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 in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also 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 can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Mooresville area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Mooresville home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Mooresville area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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. Mooresville area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm 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 Mooresville area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Mooresville area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Mooresville dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one 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 degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 35649 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Mooresville at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental School near Mooresville ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of 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 acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.