How to Pick a Dental Assistant College near Geneva Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Geneva AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance 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 depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Geneva AL dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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 Geneva AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Geneva AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Geneva AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Geneva AL area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Geneva AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Geneva AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Geneva AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Geneva AL dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Geneva AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Geneva AL area programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Geneva AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Geneva 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 policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What drove you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Geneva AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly one year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Geneva AL.
Tell Me About Geneva Alabama
Geneva is a city in and the county seat of Geneva County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1875. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Since 1940, it has been the largest city of Geneva County, and had a population of 4,452 as of the 2010 census.
In late December 1862, the stern-wheel steamship Bloomer was in port on the Choctawhatchee River in Geneva. She was captured by a group of Union troops from the 91st New York Volunteers led by Lieutenant James H. Stewart. The Bloomer was then taken to Pensacola, Florida.
Geneva is located south of the center of Geneva County at 31°2′17″N 85°52′36″W / 31.03806°N 85.87667°W / 31.03806; -85.87667 (31.038181, -85.876677), at the confluence of the Pea River with the Choctawhatchee River. Alabama State Route 52 passes through the city north of downtown, leading northeast 11 miles (18 km) to Hartford and northwest 12 miles (19 km) to Samson. Dothan is 34 miles (55 km) to the northeast via Route 52. Alabama State Route 27 passes through the center of Geneva, leading north 22 miles (35 km) to Enterprise and southwest 5 miles (8 km) to the Florida border.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.1 square miles (41.6 km2), of which 15.9 square miles (41.1 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2), or 1.17%, is water. The Choctawhatchee River forms the eastern border of the city, flowing south to Choctawhatchee Bay in Florida, which enters the Gulf of Mexico at Destin.
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