How to Find the Right Dental Assistant School near Saraland Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Saraland AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year 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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Saraland AL dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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 job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 Saraland AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Saraland AL dental practices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant college might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Saraland AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Saraland AL area colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Saraland AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Saraland AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Saraland AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice 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 Saraland AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Saraland AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Saraland AL area programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor 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 Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Saraland AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Saraland AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What drove you to decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Saraland AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly one year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Saraland AL.
Tell Me About Saraland Alabama
Saraland is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, and a suburb of Mobile. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 13,405. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan area. Saraland is the third largest city in Mobile County.
Saraland is located at 30°49′31″N 88°5′31″W / 30.82528°N 88.09194°W / 30.82528; -88.09194 (30.825186, -88.091932).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.0 square miles (57 km2), of which 21.9 square miles (57 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.50%) is water.
The land area that was to become the present-day Saraland, was included in a Spanish land grant to Don Diego Alvarez. Hence, descendants of Alvarez were the ones to give the community its first name: Alvarez Station. Later land squatters moved into the area and were able, legally, in 1800 to begin purchasing property. In 1807, a land office was opened in St. Stephens to handle all land transactions. Some of the pioneer families who seized the opportunity to buy up sections were named Alvarez, Rice, Hartley, Moore, LaCoste, Williams, Tool and Cleveland. Ultimately, Alvarez Station was called Cleveland Station. The present name of the city is reported to have been given by C.J. DeWitt, a retired minister editor who moved south in 1890 for health reasons. He opened the first post office on the Southern Railroad in 1895. The community is purported to be the namesake of his beloved wife, Sara.
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