How to Select a Dental Assistant Program near Locust Fork Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Locust Fork AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. 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 expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Locust Fork AL dental office and can carry out a multitude 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 operating efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Locust Fork AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once 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 provided at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Locust Fork AL dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Locust Fork AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Locust Fork AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Locust Fork AL typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Locust Fork AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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 ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Locust Fork AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Locust Fork AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Locust Fork AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Locust Fork AL area programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Locust Fork AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Locust Fork AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant School near Locust Fork AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your education 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 schools typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Locust Fork AL.
Tell Me About Locust Fork Alabama
Locust Fork, Alabama
While traveling south with his troops in 1815, General Andrew Jackson camped along a river in the area. General Jackson carved his name in a locust tree, naming the area Locust Fork. In the early 1800s Nick Hudson built a public inn in what is now Locust Fork. He erected barns to shelter the horses and hogs of the Tennessee farmers who drove them to the deeper South for a more profitable market.
Locust Fork is located southwest of the center of Blount County, at 33°53'47.494" North, 86°37'50.048" West (33.896526, -86.630569). It is situated on a bluff overlooking the Blackburn Fork of the Little Warrior River. Just north of town, the Blackburn Fork enters the Little Warrior River, which flows into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River 2 miles (3 km) northwest of the town.
Locust Fork is located in one of the northeast-to-southwest valleys that make up the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain. Sand Mountain forms the southeast side of the valley, and McAnnally Mountain and Hog Mountain form part of a broader, more broken ridge to the northwest. The area has been mined for coal over the past 100 years, but no current active coal mining operations exist in the immediate area, which consists of rolling hill farm country.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,186 people, 435 households, and 342 families residing in the town. The population density was 119.1/km2 (308/mi2). There were 469 housing units at an average density of 46.9/km2 (120.2/mi2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.0% White, 0.8% Native American, 1.0% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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