How to Find the Right Dental Assistant College near Clayton Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant school near Clayton AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Clayton AL dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Clayton AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Clayton AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant college might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Clayton AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Clayton AL area schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Clayton AL often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, 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. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Clayton AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as 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 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 right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Clayton AL area school you enroll in 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 sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Clayton AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Clayton AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Clayton AL area colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Clayton AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Clayton AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Clayton AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Clayton AL.
Tell Me About Clayton Alabama
Clayton is a town in and the county seat of Barbour County, Alabama, United States. The population was 3,008 at the 2010 census, up from 1,475 in 2000.
Clayton has been the county seat since 1834, two years after the creation of Barbour County. Clayton is located geographically in the center of the county. The town was located at the headwaters of the Pea and Choctawhatchee rivers on the historic road from Hobdy's Bridge over the Pea River to Eufaula on the Chattahoochee River. By 1818, there were a few settlers in the area around Clayton, but settlement began in earnest around 1823. The town was named for Augustine S. Clayton, a Georgia jurist and congressman. Clayton became the county seat of Barbour County in 1833 and was laid out on a central courthouse square plan. The first Circuit Court was held in Clayton on September 23, 1833. The Clayton post office was established in September 1835 with John F. Keener as postmaster. Clayton, with a population of 200, was incorporated on December 21, 1841, by the Alabama Legislature. Its first mayor, after incorporation, was John Jackson.
Clayton has a rich heritage with four properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Clayton is also known for its Whiskey Bottle Tombstone, which was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!.
Governor George Wallace was born in nearby Clio and began his legal and political career in Clayton.
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