How to Find the Right Dental Assistant Program near Enterprise Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant program near Enterprise AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Enterprise AL dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 dealing 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 elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably 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 supporting the Enterprise AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Enterprise 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 finish 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant college might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Enterprise AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Enterprise AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate 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 enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Enterprise AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Enterprise AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and 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 may 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 right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Enterprise AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Enterprise 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Enterprise AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Enterprise AL area programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Enterprise AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? 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 getting your education and have to go to classes near your Enterprise 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 practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What drove you to pick Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready several ideas about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Find the Best Dental Assistant College near Enterprise AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Enterprise AL.
Tell Me About Enterprise Alabama
Enterprise is a city in the southeastern part of Coffee County and the southwestern part of Dale County in the southeastern part of Alabama in the Southern United States. The population was 26,562 at the 2010 census. Enterprise is the primary city of the Enterprise Micropolitan Statistical Area (with the portion of the city located in Dale County part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area), and is also part of the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark Combined Statistical Area.
Enterprise is famous for the Boll Weevil Monument, a large monument of a woman holding a boll weevil, which is located in the middle of Main Street. The city erected the statue because the destruction of the cotton crop by the boll weevil had led to agricultural diversity, starting with peanuts and more prosperity than had ever come from cotton alone. It is said to be the only statue to an insect pest in the world. Enterprise is right outside Fort Rucker, an Army base which is the home of Army Aviation.
The founder of Enterprise, John Henry Carmichael, first settled there in 1881. Carmichael opened a store, which attracted more settlers to the area, and by the next year a post office was relocated from the settlement of Drake Eye to the north to Enterprise. In 1896, with 250 people having settled there, the city of Enterprise incorporated. Soon afterward, the Alabama Midland Railway came to Enterprise, bringing with it opportunities for commerce and growth. By 1906, ten years after the city incorporated, its population had grown to 3,750.
The way of life in Enterprise came under threat in 1915. An infestation of boll weevils had found its way into the region's cotton crops, resulting in the destruction of most of the cotton in Coffee County. Facing economic ruin, the nearly bankrupt area farmers were forced to diversify, planting peanuts and other crops in an effort to lessen the damage and recoup some of the losses inflicted upon them by the invading insect.
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