How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant School near Florence Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Florence AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing 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 Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Florence AL dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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 Florence AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out 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
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Florence AL dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Florence AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Florence AL area colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished 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 School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Florence AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Florence AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Florence AL area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Florence 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Florence AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Florence AL area schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Florence AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near your Florence AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What drove you to pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Florence AL
Choosing the right dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Florence AL.
Tell Me About Florence Alabama
Florence is the largest and principal city of the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area (which includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia metropolitan areas in Colbert and Lauderdale counties). Florence is considered northwestern Alabama's primary economic hub.
Annual tourism events include the W. C. Handy Music Festival in the summer and the Renaissance Faire in the fall. Landmarks in Florence include the Rosenbaum House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home located in Alabama.
Florence and Lauderdale County have one hospital, Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. ECM is a 358 bed facility owned by RCCH HealthCare Partners in Brentwood, Tennessee. In 2010 RCCH HealthCare Partners announced that they would build a new hospital in Florence. The hospital is due to be completed in December 2018.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florence has a total area of 25.0 square miles (65 km2), of which 24.9 square miles (64 km2) is land, and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.40%) is water. Florence is located on Wilson Lake and Pickwick Lake, bodies of water on the Tennessee River dammed by Pickwick Dam and Wilson Dams. Pickwick Lake was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of several alphabet agencies of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Wilson Dam (currently operated by the TVA) was authorized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918 and was the first dam constructed on the Tennessee River.
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