How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant School near Piedmont Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant college near Piedmont AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However 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 cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Piedmont AL dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving 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 vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Piedmont AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Piedmont AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant college can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Piedmont AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Piedmont AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach 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 ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program 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 condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Piedmont AL often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Piedmont 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 as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Piedmont AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Piedmont AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Piedmont AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Piedmont AL area schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses 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 Piedmont AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near your Piedmont AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant College near Piedmont AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively 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 obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly one year of study before they enter the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Piedmont AL.
Tell Me About Piedmont Alabama
Piedmont is a city in Calhoun and Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 4,878 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many surrounding communities are served by the 36272 ZIP code, including Spring Garden, Rock Run, Knighten's Crossroads, and Nance's Creek. The current mayor is Bill Baker, who was chosen by the city council to lead after elected mayor Rick Freeman resigned due to medical issues.
The area now known as Piedmont is a community that began in the early 1840s, located at the crossroads of two early post roads. Major Jacob Forney Dailey of North Carolina came to Alabama in 1848 and bought land in present-day Piedmont. Major Dailey named the area Cross Plains, and an official post office with that name was established on September 22, 1851.
In Reconstruction-era Alabama, an incident at Cross Plains affected race relations and the future of the northeast section of the state for generations as a result of the lynching of William Luke, a northern missionary, and several other men in 1870. In that year, the new northern-owned railroad to connect Washington, D.C. and the North with New Orleans was to have its headquarters near the small northeast Alabama town, at Patona. After the Ku Klux Klan-led lynchings, however, the headquarters was moved, and the town never achieved the dominant position in Calhoun County, with Anniston, founded the next year, achieving that status instead.
Wall Street financier Franklin Delano, uncle of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was president of the railroad at the time. The railroad sponsored a school for African-American children of freedmen, and Luke was the teacher. Word spread in the area that Luke was teaching racial equality, and resentment developed against him in the northern Calhoun County area. The railroad was planning to use the graduates as a source of students for Talladega College who might then go on to work for the railroad. A racial fight at the Cross Plains station gave rise to arrests of certain freedmen, and then of Luke as well. Klansmen then seized the prisoners and murdered them. Congressional hearings followed, with strengthened civil rights laws, but the murderers were never properly punished.
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