How to Choose a Dental Assistant School near Jefferson Alabama
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Jefferson AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Jefferson AL dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying 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 dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing 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 assisting the Jefferson AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When 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 and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Jefferson AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Jefferson AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Jefferson AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Jefferson AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Jefferson AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Jefferson AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Jefferson AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Jefferson AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Jefferson AL area colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, 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 significant 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Jefferson AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near your Jefferson AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What drove you to choose 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 also what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Jefferson AL
Choosing the right dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Jefferson AL.
Tell Me About Jefferson Alabama
Al Ricardo Jefferson (born January 4, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played high school basketball for Prentiss High School in Mississippi before skipping college to enter the 2004 NBA draft, where he was drafted 15th overall by the Boston Celtics. He has previously played for the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz and Charlotte Hornets.
Born in Monticello, Mississippi, Jefferson attended Prentiss High School in the small nearby town of Prentiss from 2000 to 2004. After starting for his varsity team as a freshman at Prentiss, he became one of the elite players in the country as a junior, drawing the attention of both college coaches around the country, and the scouts of the NBA. In his senior year for the Bulldogs, he averaged an astounding 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks per game as his Bulldogs team went on to lose in the Mississippi state class 3A semi-finals to Byhalia High School 88-73, in which Jefferson finished with 56 points.
Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Jefferson was listed as the No. 1 center and the No. 4 player in the nation in 2004. He had originally committed to Arkansas, but opted instead to make the jump to the NBA straight out of high school.
Jefferson was drafted with the 15th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 NBA draft, becoming the first high school player to be drafted by the Celtics (Kendrick Perkins was drafted by the Grizzlies, then traded to Boston on draft day in the 2003 NBA draft). He played primarily as a power forward and averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game during his rookie season.
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