How to Select a Dental Assistant Program near Ashland Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Ashland AL is an important initial step toward launching 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 choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. 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 generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Ashland AL dental practice and can undertake a variety of functions. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Ashland AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Ashland 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 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 practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Ashland AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Ashland AL area colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Ashland AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Ashland AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 Ashland AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Ashland AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Ashland AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Ashland AL area programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor 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 Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Ashland AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Ashland AL home at nights 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 protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant Program near Ashland AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly one year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Ashland AL.
Tell Me About Ashland Alabama
Clay County was formed by an act of the Alabama General Assembly on December 7, 1866. Less than a year later, Ashland was established as the county seat on land donated by Hollingsworth Watts for the construction of a courthouse. Ashland was incorporated in 1871 and was named for 19th century statesman Henry Clay's Kentucky estate home.
During the early years, the town grew very rapidly. The town continued to grow with the opening of Alabama's first graphite mine in 1899. When World War I ended, the market for graphite dropped drastically, thus ending the town's growth phase.
The 1930s brought the Great Depression and boll weevil to Ashland that destroyed the cotton industry. Farmers were forced to abandon what had been the community's major industry. Timber, poultry, and cabinet making became the dominant industries by the beginning of the 21st century.
One of the newest attractions in Clay County in the 1920s, was the chicken business. Millions of chickens and eggs and long chicken houses In or about 1921, Reverend Secelar Claxton Ray took one hundred, day-old chicks to the Clay County Fair and put them under an oil burning brooder and called attention to the advantage of using chickens on the farm to supplement the 'all cotton' cash crop. This was something new, but it did gradually get the attention of the local farmers. He was now fully in the poultry business, and named it Goodwill Poultry Farm and Hatchery. He bought houses then idle at the local graphite mines in Clay County and hired neighbors in their spare time and built the hatchery and chicken houses and an extra tenant house on the farm, southeast of Ashland, Alabama whose population of close to one thousand had grown considerably from two hundred in 1881.
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