How to Pick a Dental Assistant Program near Phenix City Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Phenix City AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Phenix City AL dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing 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 vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Phenix City AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Phenix City AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Phenix City AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Phenix City AL area colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Phenix City AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Phenix City AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Phenix City AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Phenix City 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Phenix City AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Phenix City AL area colleges you are interested in 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 teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical 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 expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Phenix City AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Phenix City AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Phenix City AL
Selecting the right dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about one year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Phenix City AL.
Tell Me About Phenix City Alabama
Phenix City, Alabama
Phenix City lies immediately west across the Chattahoochee River from much larger Columbus, Georgia. Sometimes called Hub City, Most of Phenix City is included in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, but a section is located in Lee County, and is therefore in the Auburn, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The entire city is part of the Columbus-Auburn-Opelika Combined Statistical Area.
Phenix City is located at 32°28′22″N 85°1′12″W / 32.47278°N 85.02000°W / 32.47278; -85.02000 (32.472822, -85.020121). It is the easternmost settlement in the state of Alabama as well as the Central Time Zone, but it and some other nearby areas unofficially observe Eastern Time, as these areas are part of the metropolitan area of the considerably larger city of Columbus, Georgia, which is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Phenix City has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
What is Phenix City today initially began as two towns bordering each other on the north and south. On the south side was Girard, in Russell County, and the town of Brownville, on the north side, which was entirely within Lee County. Because a community in Tuscaloosa County already claimed the name of Brownville, the post office insisted on the name of "Lively." To compound the confusion, the nearby railroad depot was called Knight's Station. Because residents preferred Brownville, on the 1880 U.S. Census, it was listed as both Brownville and Lively. It was formally incorporated by the legislature on February 23, 1883.
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