How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant College near Anniston Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Anniston AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should 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 provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Anniston AL dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably 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 supporting the Anniston AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade 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 provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Anniston AL dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college can be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Anniston AL area schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Anniston AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Anniston AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if 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 solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Anniston AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Anniston AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Anniston AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Anniston AL area colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Anniston AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Anniston AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you should organize some ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant Program near Anniston AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively 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 normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Anniston AL.
Tell Me About Anniston Alabama
Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666. The city is the county seat of Calhoun County and one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Named "The Model City" by Atlanta newspaperman Henry W. Grady for its careful planning in the late 19th century, the city is situated on the slope of Blue Mountain.
Along with Selma, Alabama, it ranks as one of the top cities by most violent crimes in the United States, according to FBI data.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
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