How to Pick a Dental Assistant College near Leeds Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Leeds AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’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 money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Leeds AL dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
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 Leeds AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 licensure exams. Once 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 courses are available at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained 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, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Leeds AL dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant college can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Leeds AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. 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 mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Leeds AL area schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Leeds AL typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Leeds AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Leeds AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Leeds AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Leeds AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Leeds AL area colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Leeds AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Leeds AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to pick Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Leeds AL
Picking the right dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Leeds AL.
Tell Me About Leeds Alabama
Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773.
Leeds was founded in 1877, during the final years of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era. It housed the workers and their families of Lehigh, a Portland cement manufacturing plant.
The War of 1812, geography, geology, and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of desecrated ancient Native-American paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore. The early settlers built churches and schools with many remaining in Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee and Mt. Pleasant. The principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating on April 27, 1887 as "Leeds", has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River; beside an historic stagecoach route; and along two large railroads for the greater part of American History.
James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1816. John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 1812, settled at Ohanafeefee Village c.1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as the Georgia Pacific railroads. Some gravitated to historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City, Hillard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris, and Bill Johnson started Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921.
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