How to Find the Right Dental Assistant Training Program near Gardendale Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant college near Gardendale AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Gardendale AL dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Gardendale AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After 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 Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Gardendale AL dental offices are generally 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant program can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember 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 accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Gardendale AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Gardendale AL area colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Gardendale AL frequently 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 offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Gardendale AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Gardendale AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Gardendale AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gardendale AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Gardendale AL area schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Gardendale AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Gardendale AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What made you pick Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant College near Gardendale AL
Choosing the right dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Gardendale AL.
Tell Me About Gardendale Alabama
Gardendale is a city in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States and a northern suburb of Birmingham. The population was 13,893 at the 2010 census.
A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.
In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.
Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.
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