How to Select a Dental Assistant Program near Leesburg Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant school near Leesburg AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Leesburg AL dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Leesburg AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Leesburg AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Leesburg AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Leesburg AL area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Leesburg AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Leesburg AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep 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 strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers enough 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 Leesburg AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Leesburg AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help landing 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 high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Leesburg AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Leesburg AL area programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers 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 volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Leesburg AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Leesburg AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What made you pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are numerous factors 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 work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Leesburg AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study before they enter 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 right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Leesburg AL.
Tell Me About Leesburg Alabama
Leesburg was originally called Hamptonville; it was named for Joseph Hampton and the Henslee family respectively. A post office was established as Hamptonville in 1836, and in 1839 the name was changed to Leesburg.
Leesburg is located in western Cherokee County at 34°10'57.446" North, 85°46'8.350" West (34.182624, -85.768986). It is bordered by Lookout Mountain and the town of Sand Rock to the north and Weiss Lake on the Coosa River to the south. Weiss Dam, forming the lake, is located just south of the town limits.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,027 people, 409 households, and 298 families residing in the town. The population density was 160 people per square mile (61.8/km²). There were 663 housing units at an average density of 103.6 per square mile (39.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.5% White, 0.0% Native American, 0.0% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 409 households out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.1% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.90.
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