How to Choose a Dental Assistant Program near Trussville Alabama
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Trussville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Trussville AL dental practice and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling 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 regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Trussville AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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. After 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 Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Trussville AL dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant school may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Trussville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Trussville AL area programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Trussville AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Trussville AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Trussville AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Trussville 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Trussville AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Trussville AL area programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with 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 Trussville AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Trussville AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Find the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Trussville AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly one year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Trussville AL.
Tell Me About Trussville Alabama
Trussville is a city in Jefferson and St. Clair counties in the State of Alabama. It is a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2015 population was 21,023.
Trussville has been recognized as one of the most livable cities in the state and country. It was named one of the ten best towns in Alabama for young families, listed among the five best Birmingham suburbs, and included in Money magazine's list of 100 best places to live in America.
Trussville is located at 33°37′18″N 86°35′47″W / 33.62167°N 86.59639°W / 33.62167; -86.59639 (33.621623, -86.596404).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.3 square miles (58 km2), of which 22.2 square miles (57 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.27%) is water.
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