How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant Program near Centreville Alabama
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Centreville AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand 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 factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Centreville AL dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Centreville AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Centreville AL dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant school might be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Centreville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added 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 practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Centreville AL area schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several 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 condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Centreville AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Centreville AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides 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, make sure that the Centreville AL area college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Centreville AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Centreville AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Centreville AL area programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Centreville AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Centreville AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What made you pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Centreville AL
Selecting the right dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Centreville AL.
Tell Me About Centreville Alabama
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Centreville has a total area of 9.6 square miles (24.9 km2), of which 9.5 square miles (24.5 km2) are land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.52%, is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Centreville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Centreville is the site of the highest recorded temperature in the state of Alabama. On September 6, 1925, the temperature in Centreville reached the state record of 112 ºF. The data below are for the years 1916 to 1974.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,778 people, 1,066 households, and 729 families residing in the city. The population density was 294 inhabitants per square mile (114/km2). There were 1,178 housing units at an average density of 122 per square mile (47/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 72.2% White, 23.7% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 2.4% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 3.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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