How to Select a Dental Assistant School near Athens Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Athens AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Athens AL dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
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 discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Athens AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed 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 offered at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Athens AL dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program can 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 rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Athens AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. 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 necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Athens AL area colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college 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 Athens AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you select 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, a large number of Athens AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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 ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 Athens AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Athens AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Athens AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Athens AL area programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are 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 in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Athens AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Athens AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should ready a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Athens AL
Selecting the right dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Athens AL.
Tell Me About Athens Alabama
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.
In 1822, local residents purchased 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land and constructed a building to house the Athens Female Academy. The school became affiliated with the Methodist church in 1842, and was eventually renamed Athens Female College. After becoming coeducational in 1932, the school changed its name again to Athens College. After being taken over by the State of Alabama in 1974, the college was converted to a “reverse junior college,” offering the last two years of instruction for graduates of area community colleges. It is today known as Athens State University.
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