How to Pick a Dental Assistant School near Killen Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Killen AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Killen AL dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 Killen AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Killen AL dental practices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Killen AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Killen AL area schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Killen AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options 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 Killen AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides 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 Killen AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Killen 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Killen AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Killen AL area colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Killen AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near your Killen AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare some strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant School near Killen AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Killen AL.
Tell Me About Killen Alabama
Killen is a town in Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". It was incorporated in 1957. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town is 1,108, down from its record high of 1,119 in 2000.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,119 people, 435 households, and 338 families residing in the town. The population density was 585.0 people per square mile (226.2/km²). There were 484 housing units at an average density of 253.0 per square mile (97.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.26% White, 2.23% Black or African American, 0.45% Asian, 1.61% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. 2.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 435 households, 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.9% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57, and the average family size was 2.94.
In the town, the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.
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