How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near New Hope 35760
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near New Hope AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically 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 cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any New Hope dental office and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a New Hope dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges along with technical 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 comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with New Hope area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your New Hope home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing New Hope area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, 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 provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New Hope area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of New Hope area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced 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 all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of New Hope area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional New Hope dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness 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 programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if 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 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 schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 35760 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near New Hope in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Ideal Dental College near New Hope ALSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.