How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Auburn Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Auburn AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish 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 prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Auburn AL dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification 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 certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt 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 hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Auburn AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums 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 plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can 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 junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Auburn AL dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant college might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Auburn AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Auburn AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Auburn AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. 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 Auburn AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher 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 college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Auburn AL area college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Auburn AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Auburn AL area colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater 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 monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Auburn AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Auburn AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What compelled you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant College near Auburn AL
Choosing the right dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about one year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Auburn AL.
Tell Me About Auburn Alabama
Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.
Auburn is a college town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabama's fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990. U.S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The city's unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: “Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain...”
Inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County, Georgia. These settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area.
Auburn was incorporated on February 2, 1839, in what was then Macon County, covering an area of 2 square miles (5.2 km2). By that time, Methodist and Baptist churches had been established, and a school had been built and had come into operation. In the mid-1840s, separate academies for boys and girls were established in addition to the primary school. This concentration of educational institutions led to a rapid influx of families from the planter class into Auburn in the 1840s and 1850s. By 1858, of the roughly 1,000 free residents of Auburn, some 500 were students.
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