How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant School near Cottonwood Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Cottonwood AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year 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 complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Cottonwood AL dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Cottonwood AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Cottonwood AL dental offices are normally required to have 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cottonwood AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees 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 a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Cottonwood AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Cottonwood AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama school you select offers 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Cottonwood AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Cottonwood AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Cottonwood AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at 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 Cottonwood AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Cottonwood AL area schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration 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 besides 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Cottonwood AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Cottonwood AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What made you select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Assistant School near Cottonwood AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period 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 typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately one year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Cottonwood AL.
Tell Me About Cottonwood Alabama
Cottonwood is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. One source said the town incorporated in 1901, although the 1910 U.S. Census stated 1903. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,289, up from 1,170 in 2000.
Cottonwood is located in southern Houston County at 31°3′13″N 85°18′9″W / 31.05361°N 85.30250°W / 31.05361; -85.30250 (31.053646, -85.302409).Alabama State Route 53 passes through the center of town, leading north 14 miles (23 km) to Dothan and southeast 7 miles (11 km) to the Florida state line. Malone, Florida, is 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Cottonwood.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,170 people, 485 households, and 323 families residing in the town. The population density was 212.9 people per square mile (82.1/km2). There were 548 housing units at an average density of 99.7 per square mile (38.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.06% White, 29.06% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 485 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.01.
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