How to Find the Right Dental Assistant College near Sylacauga Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Sylacauga AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Sylacauga AL dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling 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 working with X-ray machines more than likely will need 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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 Sylacauga AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Sylacauga AL dental practices are generally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. 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.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Choosing an online dental assistant college may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Sylacauga AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical 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 style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Sylacauga AL area schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going 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 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 Sylacauga 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, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? 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 enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Sylacauga AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough 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, verify that the Sylacauga AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sylacauga AL dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Sylacauga AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Sylacauga AL area programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Sylacauga AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near your Sylacauga AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant College near Sylacauga AL
Selecting 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 a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally 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 training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Sylacauga AL.
Tell Me About Sylacauga Alabama
Sylacauga is known for its fine white marble bedrock. This was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and has been quarried ever since. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 4 kg (9 lb) piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
The first settlers in the Coosa River Valley were the Creek Indians whose later encounters with the Spanish and French had a significant influence on the history of Sylacauga. Events that occurred between these three groups were partly responsible for the settlement of the village of Chalakagay in 1748 by Shawnee Indians led by Peter Chartier.
Sylacauga was first mentioned in Hernando de Soto's records in 1540. It was later listed in the French territorial records in 1759 as being a town inhabited by 50 Shawnee Indian warriors, and the name then known as Chalakagay. Late in the summer of 1836 all of the Indians remaining in Alabama were taken west by the United States government. The name Sy-la-cau-ga is derived from the Indian words Chalaka-ge which mean "The Place of the Chalaka Tribe". The city was first incorporated in 1838 as Syllacoga and again in 1887 as Sylacauga.
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