How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Newbern 36765
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Newbern AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically 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 cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Newbern dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling 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 mandates. Assistants working with 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Newbern dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. 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 usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. 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 offer internships with Newbern area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Newbern home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Newbern area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Newbern area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose has 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Newbern area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Newbern area dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient 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, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area 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 undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Newbern dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36765 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Newbern in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Newbern ALChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing 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.