How to Pick a Dental Assistant College near Warrior Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Warrior AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Warrior AL dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Warrior AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When 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 programs are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one 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 assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Warrior AL dental offices are usually required to hold 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school may be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Warrior AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Warrior AL area programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied 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 College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Warrior AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Warrior AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Warrior AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Warrior AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Warrior AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Warrior AL area schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Warrior AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near your Warrior AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, 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 Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's helpful to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant Program near Warrior AL
Picking 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 alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Warrior AL.
Tell Me About Warrior Alabama
Warrior is in the Central time zone. The elevation at the center of town is 564 feet (172 m), though it ranges from over 620 feet (190 m) north of the center to less than 300 feet (91 m) along the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River, which forms the southern boundary of the city.
Warrior uses the mayor/council form of government. The city council consists of the mayor and five members. The city is divided into five geographic districts with each one electing a council member to represent it.
After having served as Warrior's longest-serving mayor and the only woman to hold the position, Rena Hudson, who became Warrior's first female mayor in 1984, recently retired to spend more time with her husband of 57 years, Bill Hudson, a retired home builder. She died on March 15, 2017 and had served as the Mayor of Warrior from 1984 to 2000 and again from 2004 to 2012.
Rickwood Caverns State Park is located 7 miles (11 km) north of Warrior near Interstate 65 and the community of Smoke Rise. Featuring limestone formations, blind cave fish, and an underground pool, Rickwood Caverns is a recognized member of the National Caves Association, and offers more than a mile of living geology.
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