How to Choose a Dental Assistant Training Program near Montevallo Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant college near Montevallo AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental 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 duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Montevallo AL dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Montevallo AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Montevallo AL dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Montevallo AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Montevallo AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right 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 going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Montevallo AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Montevallo AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as 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 solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides enough 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, verify that the Montevallo AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Montevallo AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools need help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Montevallo AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Montevallo AL area colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Montevallo AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Montevallo AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What made you decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Right Dental Assistant College near Montevallo AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Montevallo AL.
Tell Me About Montevallo Alabama
Montevallo is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. A college town, it is the home of the University of Montevallo, a public liberal arts university with approximately 3,000 students. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city of Montevallo is 6,323. Hollie Campbell Cost, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Montevallo, serves as Mayor.
Montevallo is located at 33°6′18″N 86°51′46″W / 33.10500°N 86.86278°W / 33.10500; -86.86278 (33.1049, -86.8628). A plaque on Reynolds Cemetery Road, just off highway 25, in the eastern corner of the town, marks the geographic center of the state of Alabama. Middle Street, formerly known as Main Street, had its name changed in 1899 for this reason, upon the completion of a new state survey.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.7 square miles (20 km2), of which 7.6 square miles (20 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.66%) is water.
The area where Montevallo is now was once controlled by the Creek Indians. After being acquired in 1814 Jesse Wilson claimed a small hill on the northern bank of the Shoal Creek and created a homestead there, making it the oldest settlement in Shelby County. Wilson's friends and family followed afterwards and also settled in the area, and a settlement known as Wilson's Hill developed on the site. The settlement's location at almost the exact center of Alabama meant it was considered one of the potential sites for the University of Alabama. In an attempt to encourage the university to choose the site the settlement changed its name to Montevallo, which is Italian for the hill in the valley.
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