How to Find the Right Dental Assistant College near Prattville Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant college near Prattville AL is an essential first 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Prattville AL dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Prattville AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once 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 and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Prattville AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant school may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Prattville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Prattville AL area programs 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 right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Prattville 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, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Prattville AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid 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 right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Prattville AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Prattville AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Prattville AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Prattville AL area schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Prattville AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Prattville AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What compelled you to pick Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you would like to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Prattville AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 programs generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Prattville AL.
Tell Me About Prattville Alabama
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
Prattville contains several sites on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Daniel Pratt Historic District, Bell House and Buena Vista.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
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