How to Choose a Dental Assistant Program near Andalusia Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Andalusia AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Andalusia AL dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
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 mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Andalusia AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Andalusia AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant college might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Andalusia AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Andalusia AL area schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Andalusia AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate 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 choose has 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 work as a hygienist, the majority of Andalusia AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers 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, make sure that the Andalusia AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Andalusia AL dental practice. They make it easier for 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Andalusia AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Andalusia AL area colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 significant 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Andalusia AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Andalusia AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 issues.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant School near Andalusia AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning 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 right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Andalusia AL.
Tell Me About Andalusia Alabama
Andalusia was first settled in 1841 after flooding of the Conecuh River and the surrounding lowlands forced citizens to move to higher ground. The county seat was moved from Montezuma to Andalusia in 1844. The new town was originally called "New Site" but was known as Andalusia by the time a post office was established in 1846.
Andalusia, likely got its name from Spanish explorers or settlers since the land where the town is located was part of Spanish Florida until Pinckney's Treaty in 1795. Prior to this treaty, the Spanish Empire claimed all land up to 32.22 degrees north, which would include present day Andalusia which is at 31.31 degrees north. Andalusia shares the name of Andalusia, a large southern autonomous community of Spain.
Andalusia is located slightly northwest of the center of Covington County at 31°18′N 86°29′W / 31.300°N 86.483°W / 31.300; -86.483 (31.309, -86.479). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.8 square miles (51.3 km2), of which 19.7 square miles (50.9 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.79%, is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Andalusia has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
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