How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Foley Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Foley AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Foley AL dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect 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 job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Foley AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- 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. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Foley AL dental practices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant program can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Foley AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Foley AL area programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Foley AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Foley AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Foley AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Foley AL dental practice. They make it easier for 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Foley AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Foley AL area programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Foley AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Foley AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches 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 multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Foley AL
Selecting the right dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Foley AL.
Tell Me About Foley Alabama
Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618. Foley is a principal city of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago. As Foley was traveling to President McKinley's funeral in 1901, he met a railroad agent who told him of the area in South Baldwin County. Foley came down the following year, and he liked what he saw and bought up to between 40,000 acres (160 km2) and 50,000 acres (200 km2) of land. He then returned to Chicago and formed the Magnolia Land Company. As he began to sell off acreage, he realized the need for a better way for the people to come to Foley.
Foley used some of his own money to lay the rails so the train could come from Bay Minette. The first railroad station was built in 1905. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the City's museum. John Foley donated parcels of land for a school and churches. These included the current Catholic Church, Saint Margret of Scotland, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. The first train to service Foley was a wood burner called the "Pine Knot Special." It would leave Foley in the morning and make a return trip in the afternoon. As people cleared the land, they would place lighter knots in a wood box for the engineer to use as was needed. Foley was incorporated in 1915 with G. I. Weatherly serving as its first mayor.
As of the census of 2010, there were 14,618 people, 6,165 households, and 4,124 families residing in the city. The population density was 530.8 people per square mile (205.1/km²). There were 7,359 housing units at an average density of 284.1 per square mile (198.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.1% White, 14.9% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.7% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 9.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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