How to Select a Dental Assistant College near Alexandria Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Alexandria AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance 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 time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations 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 Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Alexandria AL dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alexandria AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When 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 & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Alexandria AL dental offices are often required to hold 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant school can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Alexandria AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alexandria AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Alexandria AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Alexandria AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may 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 ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Alexandria AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Alexandria AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Alexandria AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alexandria AL area colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Alexandria AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Alexandria AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize some ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Find the Right Dental Assistant School near Alexandria AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Alexandria AL.
Tell Me About Alexandria Alabama
Al Ittihad Alexandria Club
Al-Ittihad Alexandria (Classical Arabic: نادي الإتحاد السكندري للألعاب الرياضية) (Egyptian Arabic: الإتحاد السكندري, El-Ittihad El-Sakandary) is an Egyptian football club that plays in the Egyptian Premier League. The team was founded in 1914 in Alexandria. It has the third largest number of fans in Egypt, after Al Ahly and Zamalek. The club is the first club that rushed to endorse the idea of founding the Egyptian Football Association in 1921 which contributed to increased popularity in Alexandria.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
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