How to Pick a Dental Assistant Training Program near Shelby Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Shelby AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Shelby AL dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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 assisting the Shelby AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 offered at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Shelby AL dental offices are generally required to have 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. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Shelby AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Shelby AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best 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 requirement in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Shelby AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Shelby AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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 best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Shelby AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Shelby AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing 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 Shelby AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Shelby AL area schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Shelby AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Shelby AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Right Dental Assistant College near Shelby AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Shelby AL.
Tell Me About Shelby Alabama
Shelby County, Alabama
Shelby County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 195,085. The county seat is Columbiana. The county is named in honor of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky from 1792 to 1796 and again from 1812 to 1816.
Shelby County is included in the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Shelby County was established on February 7, 1818, and it was named for the Revolutionary War hero and the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Beginning in 1820, the first county seat was located at Shelbyville. This settlement, long defunct, was located within the modern city limits of Pelham. The first courthouse was built of logs. The seat was moved to Columbia, now Columbiana, in 1826. Initially housed in an old school building, a new brick courthouse building was completed in 1854. It is now known as the Old Shelby County Courthouse and houses the Shelby County Museum and Archives. The current limestone courthouse was built from 1905–06, at a cost of $300,000.
Shelby County has a long history in agriculture, and since about 1990, it has become an important location for growing soybeans, which has exceeded cotton as the most important crop grown there.
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