How to Select a Dental Assistant Program near Madison Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Madison AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Madison AL dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most 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) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably 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 Madison AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure 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 courses are offered at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Madison AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school may be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Madison AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Madison AL area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program 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 Madison AL often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Madison AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could 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 best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient 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, make sure that the Madison AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Madison 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 Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Madison AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Madison AL area colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Madison AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Madison AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, 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 Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you want to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant School near Madison AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about 1 year of study before they enter 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 choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Madison AL.
Tell Me About Madison Alabama
Madison County, Alabama
Madison County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 334,811, making it the third-most populous county in Alabama. Its county seat is Huntsville. The county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States of America and the first President to visit the state of Alabama. Madison County covers parts of the former Decatur County.
Madison County is included in the Huntsville, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Madison County was established on December 13, 1808 by the governor of the Mississippi Territory. It is recognized as the "birthplace" of Alabama, which was founded there on December 14, 1819. For much of the county's history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cotton-producing counties in the state, and textile mills operated around the county.
This changed when a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to an estimated 2015 population of 353,089.
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