How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Newton 36352
Picking the right dental hygienist training near Newton AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish 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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Newton dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Newton dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- 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 completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Newton area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Newton home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Newton area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alabama schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important 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 prerequisite 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Newton area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Newton area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Newton area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Newton dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36352 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Newton in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Newton ALSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 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 education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.