How to Select a Dental Assistant School near Blountsville Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Blountsville AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Blountsville AL dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 Blountsville AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. 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 duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed 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 available at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Blountsville AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational 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. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant college can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Blountsville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Blountsville AL area schools you are comparing in order to make 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 best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Blountsville AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Blountsville AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Blountsville AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Blountsville AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Blountsville AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Blountsville AL area programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Blountsville AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Blountsville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What drove you to choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you should ready some approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant School near Blountsville AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training 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 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Blountsville AL.
Tell Me About Blountsville Alabama
Blount County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land ceded to the federal government by the Creek Nation on August 9, 1814. It was named for Gov. Willie G. Blount of Tennessee, who provided assistance to settlers in Alabama during the Creek War of 1813-14. It lies in the northeastern section of the state, generally known as the mineral region.
What became Blountsville appears on an 1819 map as the mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village of "Wassausey" (meaning Bear Meat Cabin, the name of an Indian translator who lived there). The town was established by Caleb Fryley and Johnny Jones in 1816 as Bear Meat Cabin. The post office was opened as Blountsville on October 20, 1825, and incorporated on December 13, 1827. It was the county seat until 1889 when the government was moved to Oneonta.
There were many schools in the town in the early years: The Academy, Blount College and the District Agricultural School, plus the public schools. The Blount County Courthouse and jail was built in 1833 and remained there until it was moved to Oneonta. A major crossroads in early Alabama, Blountsville became a Confederate depot for the cavalry. Confederate forces led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union forces led by General Abel Streight skirmished briefly in the town on May 1, 1863, and Major General Lovell H. Rousseau and his Union cavalry occupied the town in July 1864. Blount College was in the building that was originally the courthouse. It was established in 1890. The beautiful Blountsville United Methodist Church was established in 1818 and is the oldest building in Blountsville and is still in use today. Another old building in Blountsville was once known as the Barclift House. Built in 1834 as Hendricks Tavern, it is now owned and is being restored by the Ortiz family.
The Copeland-Bussey House, built c. 1835, is one of the oldest structures in northeast Alabama. The building has been stabilized by the Alabama Historic Preservation Alliance and the Blountsville Historical Society.
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