How to Pick a Dental Assistant Training Program near Alexander City Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Alexander City AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting 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 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 cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Alexander City AL dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 supporting the Alexander City 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 report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensure examinations. Once 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 Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide 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 working in Alexander City AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Alexander City AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area 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 discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly 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 address to the Alexander City AL area colleges 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 ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Alexander City AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Alexander City AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. 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 school may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Alexander City AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Alexander City AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Ask 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 Alexander City AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alexander City AL area programs you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one 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 amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Alexander City AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Alexander City AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Alexander City AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education 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 programs normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Alexander City AL.
Tell Me About Alexander City Alabama
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (180 km2) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
In 2015, plaintiffs represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center sued the City of Alexander and its Chief of Police Willie Robinson in federal court, alleging that they had from 2013 to 2015 operated "a modern-day debtors' prison" that unconstitutionally used its police force to arrest and detain at least 190 poor defendants who were unable to pay Municipal Court-imposed fines and costs. In 2017, the city reached a settlement, in which the city and its insurer agreed to pay $680,000 to persons illegally jailed.
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