How to Select a Dental Assistant Program near Fayette Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Fayette AL is an essential initial 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 far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to 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 offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Fayette AL dental practice and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping 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
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Fayette AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial 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 carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 have graduated 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fayette AL dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant college may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fayette AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Fayette AL area schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many valid 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 exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Fayette AL typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Fayette AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Fayette AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Fayette AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fayette AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Fayette AL area schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 expenses 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 comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Fayette AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near your Fayette AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What made you choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Fayette AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Fayette AL.
Tell Me About Fayette Alabama
Originally known as "La Fayette", it incorporated on January 15, 1821. When Fayette County was created in 1824, the town's name was officially changed to "Fayette Court House", though it was also known as "Fayetteville", which was the name shown on maps and on the U.S. Census in 1880 and 1890. It was officially shortened to "Fayette" in 1898.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,922 people, 2,092 households, and 1,303 families residing in the city. The population density was 575.1 people per square mile (222.0/km²). There were 2,336 housing units at an average density of 273.0 per square mile (105.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.34% White, 23.38% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. One percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,092 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 21.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.7 males.
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