How to Choose a Dental Assistant Program near Albertville Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Albertville AL is an essential initial step toward launching 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 doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Albertville AL dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult 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. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Albertville AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Albertville AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Albertville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Albertville AL area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Albertville AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Albertville AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Albertville AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Albertville AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Albertville AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Albertville AL area programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Albertville AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Albertville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What made you decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Assistant College near Albertville AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Albertville AL.
Tell Me About Albertville Alabama
The area which today includes Albertville was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
The first non-indigenous settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
At about 4:10 p.m. on April 24, 1908, the city was virtually wiped out by a tornado that became commonly called "The Great Cyclone," or "The Cyclone of 1908." The storm is believed to have killed 35 people across northeastern Alabama, including 15 in Albertville. Relief was largely delivered by railroad, particularly from the nearby city of Gadsden. Trains from Gadsden transported doctors, nurses, and the Queen City Guards, the Alabama militia company based in Gadsden. The commander of the latter, future Gadsden mayor and Col. R.A. Mitchell, reported in a dispatch to Governor B.B. Comer:
In 1893, the Alabama Legislature passed an act for the erection of an agricultural college in each of the state's Congressional districts. After some competition, Albertville was awarded the school for the Seventh District. This is the school that evolved into today's Albertville High School, whose sports teams are still known as the "Aggies."
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