How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant College near Alabaster Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near Alabaster AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months 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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Alabaster AL dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental 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 more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably 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 supporting the Alabaster AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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 fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Alabaster AL dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Alabaster AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alabaster AL area colleges 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 ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Alabaster AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Alabaster AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Alabaster AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Alabaster AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Alabaster AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabaster AL area programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ 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 whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Alabaster AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near your Alabaster AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Find the Best Dental Assistant School near Alabaster AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Alabaster AL.
Tell Me About Alabaster Alabama
Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 30,352. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 31,342. Alabaster is the 16th largest city in Alabama (by number of residents) and still a growing population.
Alabaster is located at 33°13′52″N 86°49′26″W / 33.23111°N 86.82389°W / 33.23111; -86.82389 (33.231162, −86.823829).
Alabaster mostly occupies the Cahaba and Opossum Valleys, which are divided by the Pine Ridge that runs north to south. To the east and west, both valleys are flanked by parallel mountain ridges that locally run north to south, but are a part of a larger system of ridges that generally runs north-east to south-west (the tailing ends of the Appalachian foothills). The valleys are drained by small creeks (Buck Creek, Beaverdam Creek) which flow into the Cahaba River.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.6 square miles (53 km2), of which 20.5 square miles (53 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.24%) is water.
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