How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Oneonta Alabama
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Oneonta AL is an important first step toward beginning 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Oneonta AL dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing 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 mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Oneonta AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first 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 also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After 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 & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Oneonta AL dental offices 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 complete 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 pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Oneonta AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Oneonta AL area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Oneonta AL typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Oneonta AL dental practices 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 an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Oneonta AL area school you choose 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 evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Oneonta 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs 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 Oneonta AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Oneonta AL area programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance 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 costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Oneonta AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Oneonta AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize a number of ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Oneonta AL
Selecting the right dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Oneonta AL.
Tell Me About Oneonta Alabama
Oneonta is a city in Blount County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,567. The city is the county seat of Blount County. Oneonta is home to the Covered Bridge Festival.
A post office called Oneonta has been in operation since 1889. The city was named after Oneonta, New York, the native home of a railroad official. In 1889, the county seat was transferred to Oneonta from Blountsville.
Oneonta is located in eastern Blount County at 33°56'32.291" North, 86°28'43.586" West (33.942303, -86.478774). It is situated in Murphree Valley between Red Mountain and Sand Mountain to the northwest and Straight Mountain to the southeast.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.3 square miles (39.5 km2), of which 15.2 square miles (39.3 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.54%, is water.
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