How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant Program near Clanton Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant college near Clanton AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should 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 offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Clanton AL dental practice and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably 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 assisting the Clanton AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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. Once 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 and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Clanton AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Clanton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Clanton AL area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Clanton AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Clanton 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 excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid 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, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Clanton AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Clanton 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 Clanton AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Clanton AL area programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Clanton AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Clanton AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover 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 outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must organize a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Assistant Program near Clanton AL
Picking the right dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount 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 schools usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Clanton AL.
Tell Me About Clanton Alabama
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Prior to establishment in 1868, the Town of Clanton was known as the community of "Goose Pond". Baker County was renamed to Chilton County and the community of "Goose Pond" became the Town of Clanton. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town.
Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
Clanton is located southeast of the center of Chilton County at 32°50'23.316" North, 86°37'41.477" West (32.839810, -86.628188). Clanton, Alabama, in Chilton county, is 37 miles NW of Montgomery, Alabama (center to center) and 144 miles SW of Atlanta, Georgia.
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