How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Mount Meigs 36057
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Mount Meigs AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’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 normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Mount Meigs dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- 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
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing 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. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Mount Meigs dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alabama practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial 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 also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensure 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 courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade 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. A number of programs also offer internships with Mount Meigs area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Mount Meigs home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Mount Meigs area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant 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. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Mount Meigs area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose offers 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. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Mount Meigs area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Mount Meigs area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Mount Meigs dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 36057 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Mount Meigs in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Dental School near Mount Meigs ALChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.