How to Pick a Dental Assistant Program near Fairfield Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant school near Fairfield AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should 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 provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Fairfield AL dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- 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
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Fairfield AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fairfield AL dental offices are often required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant college might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fairfield AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Fairfield AL area programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Fairfield AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Fairfield AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher 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 solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Fairfield AL area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Fairfield AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fairfield AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Fairfield AL area colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining 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 Fairfield AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Fairfield AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What drove you to choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant School near Fairfield AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Fairfield AL.
Tell Me About Fairfield Alabama
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 4,600 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were married couples living together, 28.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.17.
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