How to Select a Dental Assistant College near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Pleasant Grove AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Pleasant Grove AL dental office and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Pleasant Grove AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Pleasant Grove AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant college may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally 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 Pleasant Grove AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Pleasant Grove AL area schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Pleasant Grove AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Pleasant Grove AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers adequate 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, make sure that the Pleasant Grove AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Pleasant Grove AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Pleasant Grove AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Pleasant Grove AL area schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Pleasant Grove AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Pleasant Grove AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What made you select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant Program near Pleasant Grove AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Pleasant Grove AL.
Tell Me About Pleasant Grove Alabama
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
Pleasant Grove is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area. Its nickname is "The Good Neighbor City". At the 2010 census the population was 10,110.
It was established in 1889, but incorporated as a city in January 1937. The incorporation came about by reason of a rather unusual circumstance. The town sits on land honeycombed by coal mines. For many years the residents had relied on water wells for their water supply. As years passed and more mining was done, Pleasant Grove found itself confronted with a problem. Residents would sometimes go to their well to draw water only to find there was none. The water had gone into the mines.
During the mid to late 30’s, the Federal Government had a program for financing the building of local water systems. In exploring the possibility of securing such funds, it was revealed that in order to secure such financing a community must be legally incorporated. At this time the incorporation became a reality.
The first appointed Mayor of Pleasant Grove was W.P. Stone. The city is governed by a mayor and five council members who serve four-year terms. Elections for city officials is held during the summer of each leap year with four-year terms beginning the first Monday in October. The area known as Pleasant Grove, Alabama was first homesteaded in September 1836. Pleasant Grove is in Jefferson County. Although no one seems to know when or exactly how the town came by its name, old documents indicate that at least part of this area was called Pleasant Grove as early as 1884. Pleasant Grove was made up of four communities which included Frog Pond, Lizard Ridge, Cottage Hill, and Pleasant Grove.
Additional Alabama Cities of Interest
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