How to Pick a Dental Assistant School near Dothan Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Dothan AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the school’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Dothan AL dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming 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
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing 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 mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 supporting the Dothan AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Dothan AL dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. 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 dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college can be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Dothan AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Dothan AL area schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Dothan AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you select offers 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 work as a hygienist, a large number of Dothan AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Dothan AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Dothan AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Dothan AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Dothan AL area programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials 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 aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Dothan AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must 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 need to go to classes near your Dothan AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What drove you to choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare some approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Dothan AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your training 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Dothan AL.
Tell Me About Dothan Alabama
Dothan /ˈdoʊθən/ is a city in Dale, Henry, and Houston counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. Located in the state's southeastern corner, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of the Georgia state line and 16 miles (26 km) north of Florida, it is the county seat of Houston County. Its name derives from Genesis 37:17: "let us go to Dothan." The population was 65,496 at the 2010 census.
Dothan is the principal city of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area, which encompasses all of Geneva, Henry, and Houston counties; the small portion that lies in Dale County is part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area. The combined population for the entire Dothan metropolitan area in 2010 was 145,639. The city serves as the main transportation and commercial hub for a significant part of southeastern Alabama, southwest Georgia, and nearby portions of the Florida Panhandle. Since approximately one-fourth of the U.S. peanut crop is produced nearby, with much of it being processed in the city, Dothan is sometimes referred to as "The Peanut Capital of the World". Dothan also hosts the annual National Peanut Festival at the dedicated "Peanut Festival Fairgrounds".
The area that is now Dothan was inhabited for thousands of years by successive cultures of indigenous peoples. In historic times it was occupied by the Alabama and Creek Native American tribes who were hunters and gatherers in the vast forests of pine that covered this region. These tribes had developed complex cultures, and often used to meet and camp for trading near a large spring at the crossroads of two trails.
Between 1763 and 1783, the region that is now Dothan was part of the colony of British West Florida. European-American settlers moving through the area during the late 18th and early 19th centuries discovered the Indian spring, naming it "Poplar Head". Most felt that the sandy soil common to this region would be unsuitable for farming, so they moved on. A crude stockade was constructed on the Barber Plantation, where settlers could take refuge whenever they felt threatened. This fort disappeared by the 1840s, after the end of the Indian Wars in Alabama and the removal of most members of the Five Civilized Tribes to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Some Indians stayed in the region, becoming state and U.S. citizens by giving up their tribal membership.
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