How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant Training Program near Wetumpka Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Wetumpka AL is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Wetumpka AL dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Wetumpka AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure 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 and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Wetumpka AL dental practices are generally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant college can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Wetumpka AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Wetumpka 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 right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Wetumpka AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Wetumpka AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Wetumpka AL area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Wetumpka 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Wetumpka AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Wetumpka AL area colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Wetumpka AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near your Wetumpka AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What made you select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Right Dental Assistant School near Wetumpka AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Wetumpka AL.
Tell Me About Wetumpka Alabama
Wetumpka is a city in and the county seat of Elmore County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,528. In the early 21st century, Elmore County, long a rural area, became one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. The city is considered part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Area.
Wetumpka identifies as "The City of Natural Beauty". Among the notable landmarks are the Wetumpka crater and the Jasmine Hill Gardens, with a full-sized replica of the Temple of Hera of Olympia, Greece. Historic downtown Wetumpka developed on both sides of the Coosa River. It was located near Fort Toulouse, built by French colonists in 1717, when they had claimed this territory for the king.
The word Wetumpka is derived from the Muscogee language (Creek) phrase we-wau tum-cau. The name Wetumpka is a historic Creek place word meaning "rumbling waters", believed to be a description of the sound of the nearby Coosa River at the rapids of the Devil's Staircase. The roar of the rapids reportedly could be heard for miles before the construction in the 20th century of Walter Bouldin Dam and Jordan Dam, when the river was captured as a reservoir behind the dam.
After being forced west to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), by United States soldiers under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Muscogee named their major settlement there as Wetumka, after their historic village .
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