How to Pick a Dental Assistant School near Lafayette Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Lafayette AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as 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 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. 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 more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Lafayette AL dental office and can undertake a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Lafayette AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform 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
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Lafayette AL dental practices are normally required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant program might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Lafayette AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice 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 mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Lafayette AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Lafayette AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Lafayette AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Lafayette AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lafayette AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lafayette AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Lafayette AL area colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Lafayette AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Lafayette AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Find the Best Dental Assistant School near Lafayette AL
Selecting the right dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Lafayette AL.
Tell Me About Lafayette Alabama
LaFayette (/ləˈfeɪ.ɛt, -ˈfaɪ-/ lə-F(A)Y-et, /ˈlʌfeɪ.ɛt/ LUF-ay-et) is the county seat of Chambers County, Alabama, United States, 47 miles (76 km) northwest of Columbus, Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 3,003.
Chambers County was formed in 1832. The newly elected county officials opted to locate the county seat as near as possible to the center of the county. Lots for the new town were auctioned in October 1833, with proceeds from the sale financing the construction of a courthouse and jail. The town was first called "Chambersville", but by the time of incorporation on January 7, 1835, the town name had been changed to "Lafayette", named after the Marquis de Lafayette; its spelling was changed to "LaFayette" due to the influence of newspaper editor Johnson J. Hooper, who created a fictional character called Captain Simon Suggs, a backwoods southerner who pronounced the town's name as "La Fait". The city's newspaper, The LaFayette Sun, was founded under the name The Alabama Standard in April 1841 and adopted its current name on August 3, 1881.
Lafayette is the birthplace of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. An 8-foot (2.4 m) bronze statue, executed by sculptor Casey Downing Jr. of Mobile, Alabama, was erected in Louis' honor in front of the Chambers County courthouse. It is also the hometown of Hoyt L. Sherman, one of artist Roy Lichtenstein's principal art professor/mentors at Ohio State University.
LaFayette is located at 32°53'54.859" North, 85°24'2.822" West (32.898572, -85.400784). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.9 square miles (23.0 km2), of which 0.027 square miles (0.07 km2), or 0.31%, is water.
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