How to Select a Dental Assistant School near Marion Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Marion AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues 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 offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Marion AL dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult 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 decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Marion AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Marion 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant college can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Marion AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Marion AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Marion AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Marion AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Marion AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Marion AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Marion AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Marion AL area colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Marion AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Marion AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What drove you to select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must ready some strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Marion AL
Picking the right 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 several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Marion AL.
Tell Me About Marion Alabama
Marion is a city in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,686, up 4.8% over 2000. First known as Muckle Ridge, the city was renamed after a hero of the American Revolution, Francis Marion.
Formerly the territory of the Creek Indians, it was founded shortly after 1819 as Muckle Ridge. The city was renamed in honor of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," hero of the American Revolutionary War, in 1822. It incorporated as a town the same year and also became the second county seat after the hamlet of Perry Ridge was unsuitable. In 1829, it upgraded from a town to a city. From the very early days, Marion created considerable history for a small town on the western frontier of Alabama. The old City Hall (1832) is but one of many antebellum public buildings, churches, and homes in the city today.
At the 1844 meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Marion, the "Alabama Resolutions" were passed. This was one of the factors that led to the 1845 formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, Georgia.
Judson College was founded in 1838 and Marion Military Institute after Howard College moved in 1887. Howard College, initially the location of the current Marion Military Institute, was founded in Marion in 1842, and moved to Birmingham in 1887, later becoming Samford University. A groundbreaking school for African Americans, the Lincoln Normal School, was founded here in 1867. The associated Lincoln Normal University for Teachers moved to Montgomery and became Alabama State University. In 1889, Marion Military Institute was chartered by the State of Alabama and today is the oldest military junior college in the nation.
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