How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant School near Sheffield Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Sheffield AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations 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 offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Sheffield AL dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate 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. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Sheffield AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first 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 also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Sheffield AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant school might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Sheffield AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Sheffield AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Sheffield AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Sheffield 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 excellent reputation as well as 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 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 right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Sheffield AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sheffield AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Sheffield AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Sheffield AL area schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Sheffield AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Sheffield AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical 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 responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Sheffield AL
Choosing the right dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Sheffield AL.
Tell Me About Sheffield Alabama
Sheffield is a city in Colbert County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Shoals metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,039. Sheffield is the birthplace of "country-soul pioneer" and songwriter Arthur Alexander, French horn player Willie Ruff, notable attorney, actor, former senator and presidential contender Fred Thompson, Watergate committee U.S. Senator Howell Heflin and U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, whose father was working in nearby Athens when he was born. It sometimes is referred to as "the City of Senators" due to the births of Heflin, McConnell and Thompson within its borders. Col. Harland Sanders worked in the Sheffield depot for Southern Railway in the 1900s. It is also home to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio where many popular 20th century musicians recorded their work, including Alexander and Ruff. It is the site of historic Helen Keller Hospital, formerly known as Colbert County Hospital and originally constructed in 1921. It was changed to Helen Keller Hospital in 1979, and Keller's birthplace Ivy Green is located less than one mile southwest of the hospital in adjacent Tuscumbia.
Sheffield is located in eastern Colbert County at 34°45′35″N 87°41′41″W / 34.75972°N 87.69472°W / 34.75972; -87.69472 (34.759721, -87.694592), on the south bank of the Tennessee River. Sheffield is bordered to the south by the city of Tuscumbia, to the southeast by Muscle Shoals, and to the north, across the river, by Florence.
Sheffield was one of the Colbert County sites of embarkation by riverboat and barge on the Tennessee River during the forced relocation of Eastern and Southern United States Indian tribes, known as the Trail of Tears. The embarkation site was at what is now the Spring Creek boat launch and park area.
Sheffield was the home of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios at 3614 Jackson Highway and later at 1000 Alabama Avenue. Cher, The Rolling Stones, The Osmonds, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Simon & Garfunkel, The Staple Singers and many others recorded the biggest hits of their careers in this small studio, that remains well known and respected throughout the music industry.
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