How to Pick a Dental Assistant Program near Hartselle Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Hartselle AL is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting 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 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Hartselle AL dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Hartselle AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Hartselle AL dental practices are often 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Hartselle AL 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 accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Hartselle AL area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Hartselle AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Hartselle AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, 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 college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Hartselle AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Hartselle AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Hartselle AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Hartselle AL area colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Hartselle AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Hartselle AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Hartselle AL
Selecting the right dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Hartselle AL.
Tell Me About Hartselle Alabama
Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County, Alabama, United States, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Decatur, and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, and the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,255. Hartselle was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad's owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1916.
Hartselle is located at 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028Coordinates: 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028 (34.440383, -86.940385).
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,019 people, 4,816 households, and 3,534 families residing in the city. The population density was 809.0 people per square mile (312.3/km²). There were 5,170 housing units at an average density of 348.0 per square mile (134.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.25% White, 5.16% Black or African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. 1.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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