How to Find the Right Dental Assistant School near Robertsdale Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Robertsdale AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually 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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing 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 Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Robertsdale AL dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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 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 practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Robertsdale AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive 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 Robertsdale AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind 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 provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Robertsdale AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Robertsdale AL area programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant college. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Robertsdale AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Robertsdale AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Robertsdale AL area college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Robertsdale AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Robertsdale AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Robertsdale AL area colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Robertsdale AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Robertsdale AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What made you pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready a number of ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Best Dental Assistant Program near Robertsdale AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training 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 about 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Robertsdale AL.
Tell Me About Robertsdale Alabama
Robertsdale is located in southern Baldwin County at 30°33'16.034" North, 87°42'20.038" West (30.554454, -87.705566).U.S. Route 90 (Old Spanish Trail) passes through the city, leading west 24 miles (39 km) to Mobile and east 35 miles (56 km) to Pensacola, Florida.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,276 people, 1,951 households, and 1,392 families residing in the city. The population density was 968 people per square mile (373.6/km²). There were 1,573 housing units at an average density of 357.3 per square mile (137.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 5.4% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 6.1% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,951 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the city, the population was 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males. The median income for a household in the city was $41,750, and the median income for a family was $47,253. Males had a median income of $41,822 versus $26,239 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,696. About 8.1% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.2% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.
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