How to Pick a Dental Assistant School near Fultondale Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Fultondale AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting 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 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Fultondale AL dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 assisting the Fultondale AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide 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 Fultondale 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Choosing an online dental assistant college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fultondale AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Fultondale AL area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Fultondale 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 provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Fultondale AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, 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 college may have a strong 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, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides sufficient 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, check that the Fultondale AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Fultondale AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fultondale AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Fultondale AL area programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Fultondale AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Fultondale AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, 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 Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What drove you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Fultondale AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately one year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to 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 Fultondale AL.
Tell Me About Fultondale Alabama
Fultondale is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States and a northern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 8,380.
Fulton was a mining town in the 1900s. Fulton was incorporated in 1947. The town's name is derived from the combination of the names of two nearby communities, Fulton Springs and Glendale.
This area was once known as Fulton Springs. Prior to the building of Interstate 65, US 31 was the main route for travelers northbound from Birmingham towards Nashville, Tennessee. As a result, hotels such as the Keystone Lodge and Buchmann Motor Inn prospered. On the city's southern edge was located one of the few drive-in theatres in the Birmingham area (the "Skyview"). This was torn down when I-65 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Pine Bowl bowling alley is still a long time fixture in the city.Traces of the old routing of US 31 are still noticeable in the city. From just south of the city hall to an old bridge on this city's northern side, most of this old routing is known as Stouts Road or in some cases simply "old US 31."
Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade. Growth has occurred in residential areas mainly west of Interstate 65, while retail development has focused along and near the I-65/Walkers Chapel Road exit.
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