How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Heflin Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Heflin AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Heflin AL dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification 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 most 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Heflin AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Heflin AL dental offices are normally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant college might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Heflin AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Heflin AL area colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Heflin AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide 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. In order to work as a hygienist, most Heflin AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Heflin AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office 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 way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Heflin AL dental practice. They help 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Heflin AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Heflin AL area schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Heflin AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near your Heflin 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Find the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Heflin AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Heflin AL.
Tell Me About Heflin Alabama
Heflin was first settled in 1882 as a station on the railroad line from Atlanta. The town quickly grew and was incorporated in 1886. Until 1905, the County Seat of Cleburne County had been located at Edwardsville. In 1905, an election was held to move the county seat from Edwardsville to Heflin. The election results favored Heflin and were appealed to and upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court on July 1, 1906.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,480 people, 1,384 households, and 925 families residing in the city. The population density was 216.9 people per square mile (83.7/km²). There were 1,531 housing units at an average density of 93.9 per square mile (36.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.3% White, 9.4% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,384 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the city, the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.5 males.
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