How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Ohatchee 36271
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Ohatchee AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Ohatchee dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some Alabama dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ 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. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Ohatchee dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, 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 first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Ohatchee area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Ohatchee home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental program is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Ohatchee area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Ohatchee area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose 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 earn a living as a hygienist, many Ohatchee area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and 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 primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Ohatchee area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Ohatchee dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36271 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Ohatchee in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Ohatchee ALSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive 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 two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose 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.