How to Select a Dental Assistant College near Pell City Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Pell City AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. 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 invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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 finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss 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 look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Pell City AL dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pell City 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 room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based 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
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Pell City AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school can be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Pell City AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have picked 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 beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Pell City AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Pell City AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for 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 make certain that the Alabama school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Pell City AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Pell City AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Pell City AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Pell City AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Pell City AL area schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Pell City AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Pell City AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What made you pick Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant School near Pell City AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Pell City AL.
Tell Me About Pell City Alabama
Pell City, Alabama
Pell City is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. The city is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Ashville. At the 2000 census the population was 9,565. At the 2010 census, the city-limit population jumped to 12,695.
Pell City was founded in 1890 by railroad investors and named after Jonathan H. Pell of the Pell City Iron and Land Company, one of its financial backers. The city was incorporated on May 6, 1891, but nearly failed during the Panic of 1893. However, it was revived in 1902 when Sumter Cogswell built the Pell City Manufacturing Company, which subsequently became Avondale Mills, a major landmark of the town until Thunder Enterprises, a Tennessee company, bought the building and began dismantling the factory in 2008. However, on February 14, 2008 a fire started at the mill. The fire was so large it could be seen from the Chula Vista/ Springville exit on Interstate 20 (I20). It was a sad ending for the factory. However, the smokestack and water tower still stood. The mill was the economic and social center of the town during its development and early growth. Besides the textile mill, other economic endeavors included agriculture and mercantile establishments. Large cotton, soybean, and cattle farms were located in the area. Pell City increased its size in 1956 when the nearby towns of Eden and Oak Ridge were merged with the city. The first mayor was Green Evans.
The residences of Sumter Cogswell and Green Evans (Pell City’s first mayor) are two of the earliest structures, dating from the late nineteenth century. The majority of the historic structures date from 1902 to 1905.
Ashville, Alabama, in the northern part of St. Clair County, was the only county seat from 1821 to 1907. A constitutional amendment in 1907 established Pell City as the second county seat. For many years, St. Clair County was the only county in the country with two full-service county seats. Both county seats remain operational to this day although Pell City has far outstripped Ashville in growth thanks in no small part to the convergence of both I-20 and Logan Martin Lake.
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