How to Select a Dental Assistant Program near Russellville Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Russellville AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss 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 review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Russellville AL dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 assisting the Russellville AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Russellville AL dental practices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Russellville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Russellville AL area schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school 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 Russellville AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Russellville AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Russellville AL area college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Russellville AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Russellville AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Russellville AL area schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Russellville AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Russellville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What made you pick Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant School near Russellville AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Russellville AL.
Tell Me About Russellville Alabama
Russellville is a city in Franklin County in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,830, up from 8,971 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Franklin County.
After the War of 1812, the U.S. government appropriated money to improve a route from Nashville to New Orleans. It was named Jackson's Military Road after Andrew Jackson, and it passed through what became Russellville. (Present-day Jackson Avenue and Jackson Highway, U.S. Route 43, follow portions of the original road.)
Russellville is named after Major William Russell, an early settler in the area who helped in the construction of Jackson's Military Road. The town grew at this road's intersection with the Gaines Trace.
Russellville served as the first county seat from 1818-1849 before it was removed to Frankfort (which served from 1849-1879). After the fire at the courthouse in the third county seat of Belgreen in 1890, the seat was returned to Russellville in 1891.
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