How to Pick a Dental Assistant Program near Calera Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Calera AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Calera AL dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Calera AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Calera AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally 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 convenience of your Calera AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Calera AL area schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose 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 exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Calera AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Calera AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. 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 solid 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 right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Calera AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Calera AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Calera AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Calera AL area colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate 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 private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Calera AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Calera AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What drove you to decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Find the Right Dental Assistant Program near Calera AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Calera AL.
Tell Me About Calera Alabama
As of the 2010 census the population had more than tripled to 11,620, making it the fastest-growing city in Alabama. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area and positively affected by the growth in its economy.
Calera is located in southern Shelby County at 33°06′27″N 86°45′00″W / 33.107572°N 86.749964°W / 33.107572; -86.749964. The city limits extend southward into Chilton County along U.S. Route 31, the main highway through the city. Interstate 65 passes through the eastern side of the city, with access from exits 228, 231, and 234.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2), of which 24.1 square miles (62.4 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.17%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,158 people, 1,248 households, and 888 families residing in the city. The population density was 244.9 people per square mile (94.5/km2). There were 1,400 housing units at an average density of 108.6 per square mile (41.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.42% White, 19.92% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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