How to Pick a Dental Assistant Program near Atmore Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Atmore AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting 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 complete for a certificate or diploma. 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 talk about 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 duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Atmore AL dental practice and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing 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 mandates. 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role 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 assisting the Atmore AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Atmore AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant school may be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Atmore AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical 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 get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Atmore AL area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Atmore AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama school you choose offers 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Atmore AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Atmore AL area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Atmore 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Find out if the programs 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 Atmore AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Atmore AL area programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Atmore AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near your Atmore AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Right Dental Assistant College near Atmore AL
Selecting the right dental assistant program is essential 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 alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Atmore AL.
Tell Me About Atmore Alabama
Atmore is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1907. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 10,194, with an estimated population of 10,006 in 2014. Atmore is in the planning stages to increase its economic base with additions in its new Rivercane development along the I-65 corridor.
Atmore has completed requirements to be recognized as an Alabama Community of Excellence at the upcoming Alabama League of Municipalities Convention. City officials are also working with the Alabama Historical Commission to have the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Atmore is located in western Escambia County at 31°1′23″N 87°29′31″W / 31.02306°N 87.49194°W / 31.02306; -87.49194 (31.023183, -87.492067). Its southern border is the Florida state line. The center of town is at the intersection of U.S. Route 31 and Alabama State Route 21, while a new section of the city has been incorporated 6 miles (10 km) to the north around Exit 57 of Interstate 65. US 31 leads southwest 20 miles (32 km) to Bay Minette and east 28 miles (45 km) to Brewton. Mobile is 51 miles (82 km) to the southwest via US 31 and I-65, while Pensacola, Florida, is 49 miles (79 km) south via AL 21, Florida State Road 97, and U.S. Route 29.
As of the census of 2010, the population density was 1228 people per square mile (469.8/km2). There were 3,480 housing units at an average density of 419.3 per square mile (160.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.4% Black or African American, 39.3% White, 1.8% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. 1.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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