How to Select a Dental Assistant Program near Abbeville Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Abbeville AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Abbeville AL dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- 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
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ 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. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Abbeville AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered 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 offered at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Abbeville AL dental practices are normally 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Abbeville AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Abbeville AL area schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Abbeville AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama college you decide on 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, many Abbeville AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Abbeville AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Abbeville 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Abbeville AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Abbeville AL area programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Abbeville AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Abbeville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What drove you to pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Assistant College near Abbeville AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Abbeville AL.
Tell Me About Abbeville Alabama
Abbeville is a city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,688. The city is the county seat of Henry County. It is the first city alphabetically, both by city and state, in the Rand McNally Road Atlas. It has two high schools: the public Abbeville High School and private Abbeville Christian Academy. Chapters of the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity operate here.
Abbeville is located at 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139Coordinates: 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139 (31.566367, -85.251300). The city is located in southeastern Alabama along U.S. Route 431, Alabama State Route 10, and Alabama State Route 27 approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Dothan and 23 mi (37 km) south-southwest of Eufaula.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Abbeville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Abbeville is the oldest remaining colonial settlement in East Alabama from Florida to the Tennessee line. It is older than either the county of Henry and the State of Alabama. European Americans set up an active trading post in Abbeville in Alabama Territory early in 1819. The first settler gateway to the wiregrass region was at Franklin, located fourteen miles west of Abbeville.
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