How to Find the Right Dental Assistant School near Bay Minette Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant training near Bay Minette AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish 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 expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing 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 a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Bay Minette AL dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing 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 previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Bay Minette AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bay Minette 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Bay Minette AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed 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 discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Bay Minette AL area schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college 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. Employers in Bay Minette AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Bay Minette AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Bay Minette AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Bay Minette AL dental practice. They make it easier for 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 Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bay Minette AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Bay Minette AL area programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Bay Minette AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Bay Minette AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Bay Minette AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Bay Minette AL.
Tell Me About Bay Minette Alabama
Bay Minette, Alabama
Bay Minette is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,044. The city is the county seat of Baldwin County.
In the first days of Baldwin County, the town of McIntosh Bluff (now in Mobile County, west of Baldwin County) on the Tombigbee River was the county seat. After being transferred to the town of Blakeley in 1810, the county seat was later moved to the city of Daphne in 1868. In 1900, by an act of the legislature of Alabama, the county seat was authorized for relocation to the city of Bay Minette; however, the city of Daphne resisted relocation. The citizens of Bay Minette moved the county records from Daphne in the middle of the night on October 11–12, 1901 and delivered them to the city of Bay Minette - where the Baldwin County seat remains to this day. A mural for the new post office built in 1937 was commissioned by the WPA and painted by Hilton Leech of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to commemorate this event.
In September 2011, the town attempted to enact a program called "Operation Restore Our Community". It would have allowed those convicted of a misdemeanor to substitute imprisonment with mandatory church attendance for one year. However, this program was challenged due to violating separation of church and state, and the program's start was delayed for judicial review. It appears to have been scrapped.
Bay Minette is located near the center of Baldwin County in southern Alabama at 30°53′0″N 87°46′38″W / 30.88333°N 87.77722°W / 30.88333; -87.77722 (30.883446, -87.777183). It is sited on high ground 5 miles (8 km) east of the Mobile River/Tensaw River valley and 6 miles (10 km) west of the Florida border formed by the Perdido River. U.S. Route 31 passes through the center of the city, leading south to Spanish Fort and northeast to Atmore. Interstate 65 passes about 5 miles (8 km) north of the city, with access from exit 34 (State Route 59) and exit 37 (State Route 287).
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