How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Tallassee Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Tallassee AL is an essential initial step toward launching 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 choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as 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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. 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 review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Tallassee AL dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Tallassee AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about 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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Tallassee AL dental practices 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 finish 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant college may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Tallassee AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Tallassee AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Tallassee AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Tallassee AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher 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 school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Tallassee AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Tallassee AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Tallassee AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Tallassee AL area colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Tallassee AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? 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 will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Tallassee AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What made you choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Tallassee AL
Selecting the right dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Tallassee AL.
Tell Me About Tallassee Alabama
Tallassee (pronounced /ˈtæːləsi/) is a city on the Tallapoosa River, located in both Elmore and Tallapoosa counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census the population was 4,819. It is home to a major hydroelectric power plant at Thurlow Dam operated by Alabama Power Company.
The historic Creek peoples in this area are believed to have descended from the Mississippian culture, which flourished throughout the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and the Southeast from about 1000 to 1450. They were mound builders, who created massive earthwork mounds as structures for political and religious purposes. They relied greatly on fishing and riverway trading at their major sites (c.f. Moundville, Tuscaloosa).
Talisi was a town of the Coosa Province of the Mississippian culture; it was visited in 1540 by Hernando de Soto and his expedition through the Southeast. Later it was occupied by the historic Creek people. The Tallassee area was the location of the Creek capital city, Tuckabatchee, as well as the location of the seven sacred plates.
Tensions first broke out as a civil war among the Creek, but US forces also got involved. Trying to intercept a Red Sticks party who were bringing back arms thought to be purchased from the Spanish in Florida, United States Army forces attacked the Creek at the Battle of Burnt Corn. The Creek band ultimately defeated the soldiers. In retaliation, the next month the Red Sticks attacked Fort Mims, about 35 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, killing most of the more than 500 settlers and mixed-race Lower Creek who had taken refuge there.
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