How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Cullman Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Cullman AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Cullman AL dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental 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 more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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 supporting the Cullman AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When 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 & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Cullman AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Cullman AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Cullman AL area schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, 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 good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Cullman AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Cullman AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good 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 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 right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Cullman AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Cullman 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Cullman AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Cullman AL area programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Cullman AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Cullman AL home in the evenings 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What compelled you to choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Cullman AL
Selecting the right dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately one year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Cullman AL.
Tell Me About Cullman Alabama
Cullman County, Alabama
Cullman County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 80,406. Its county seat is Cullman. Its name is in honor of Colonel John G. Cullmann. It is a "moist" county in terms of availability of alcoholic beverages; the cities of Cullman, Good Hope and Hanceville allow sale of alcohol and are "wet" and the rest of the county is dry.
Cullman is served by TV stations and FM radio stations from both Huntsville and Birmingham. Cullman County is a part of the designated market area, or "DMA," of Birmingham. Electricity in Cullman County is provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority and by the Alabama Power Company. For a long time, telephone service in this county was provided by the Southern Bell Company.
This area was inhabited for thousands of years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Cherokee and Choctaw lived here at the time of European encounter, with the Cherokee moving in after the American Revolutionary War and in response to pressures from northern area. Their settlements in Alabama were known as the Lower Towns.
People claiming descent from Cherokee who remained in the county after Indian Removal in the 1830s, organized as the "Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama" in the 1980s. The tribe was recognized by the state in 1984 but is not federally recognized. It claims 22,000 members in the state, mostly in northern Alabama.
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