How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant Training Program near Saginaw Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Saginaw AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Saginaw AL dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ 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 licensed and certified. 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 contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably 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 Saginaw AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may 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 as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Saginaw AL dental offices are generally required to hold 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program can be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Saginaw AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Saginaw AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Saginaw AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Saginaw AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Saginaw AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Saginaw AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Saginaw AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Saginaw AL area schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Saginaw AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Saginaw AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What made you pick Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Dental Assistant Program near Saginaw AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education 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 job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Saginaw AL.
Tell Me About Saginaw Alabama
Saginaw is an unincorporated community 2.5 miles north of Calera in Shelby County, Alabama, United States with zip code 35137. It is part of the Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman Combined Statistical Area. It is located southeast of Alabaster on the east side of Interstate 65 at the intersection of State Route 70 and U.S. Route 31.
Saginaw is the home of the Saginaw Pipe Company, Inc., a major supplier of steel pipe, beams, tubing, and plate. The Dravo Lime Company quarry in Saginaw was honored for their outstanding safety record in the annual Sentinels of Safety awards program co-sponsored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Mining Association (NMA) in 1997 and 1999.
The U.S. Census bureau does not keep separate statistics for Saginaw. As of the census of 2000, for Block Group 2, Census Tract 306.09, Shelby County, Alabama, which is the census block group that includes the center of Saginaw, the total population was 1,684 people, with a racial makeup of 97.1% white, 2.2% black, and 0.7% mixed or other races.
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