How to Pick a Dental Assistant College near Winfield Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Winfield AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. 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 lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Winfield AL dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 Winfield AL practice, deal 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 carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Winfield AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Winfield AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Winfield AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose 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 examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Winfield AL typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Winfield AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might 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 ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Winfield AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Winfield AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Winfield AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Winfield AL area schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers 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 volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Winfield AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Winfield AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers often ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Right Dental Assistant School near Winfield AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Winfield AL.
Tell Me About Winfield Alabama
Winfield is a small city situated in Northwest Alabama 26 miles (42 km) east of the Mississippi state line. It lies in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain range which stretches from the deep South all the way to Maine. Long before the earliest settlers arrived, Indian tribes hunted in the forest and fished in the streams and along and around Winfield. The town was originally called "Needmore", but when it was incorporated in either 1887 or 1891, the name was changed to Winfield in honor of General Winfield Scott. This area was once the Chickasaw Indian domain. Although there were no known Indian settlements within the county, several sites were maintained as hunting camps.
Winfield is located in southern Marion County at 33°55′42″N 87°48′29″W / 33.92833°N 87.80806°W / 33.92833; -87.80806 (33.928258, -87.807990), with a portion extending south into Fayette County. U.S. Route 43 passes through the city, leading northwest 6.5 miles (10.5 km) to Guin and south 18 miles (29 km) to Fayette. Hamilton, the Marion County seat, is 20 miles (32 km) northwest via US 43.
Winfield has a subtropical climate characterized by hot, humid summers, mild winters, and abundant rainfall during the late winter and spring. January sees average daily high temperatures of 53.0 °F (11.7 °C) and lows of 31.8 °F (−0.1 °C). In July, the average daily high is 90.6 °F (32.6 °C), and the low is 69.2 °F (20.7 °C). Snowfall is infrequent in the area, with a yearly average of 0.5 inches (12.7 mm). The average yearly rainfall in Winfield is about 52 inches (1,300 mm), with March being the wettest month and October the driest.
The spring and fall months are pleasant but variable, but cold fronts frequently bring strong to severe thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes to the region. The fall season features less rainfall and fewer storms, as well as lower humidity than the spring, but is also a secondary severe weather season.
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