How to Choose a Dental Assistant Training Program near Elba Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Elba AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However 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 expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional 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 Elba AL dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance 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 obtain certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving 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 differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
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 in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Elba AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Elba AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant school may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Elba AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Elba AL area colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided 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 College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Elba AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama school you choose has 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, most Elba AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Elba AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Elba AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Elba AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Elba AL area programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Elba AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Elba AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, 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 merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Elba AL
Choosing the right dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Elba AL.
Tell Me About Elba Alabama
Elba is a city in Coffee County, Alabama, United States. At the time of the 2010 U.S. census, its population was 3,940. Elba is part of the Enterprise micropolitan statistical area. Elba is the official county seat of Coffee County, though there are two county courthouses, with the other one being located in the town of Enterprise.
The town which eventually became Elba originated near a ferry across the Pea River in the early 1830s. Originally called Bridgeville, a U.S. post office was established in the town by 1841. In 1851, a lottery to determine a new name for the town was held. One citizen had been reading a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his suggestion of "Elba" as its name was the winner when it was drawn from a hat before any of the other suggestions. Elba became the county seat of Coffee County in 1852.
A logging railroad first reached Elba on March 20, 1892, with the first permanent rail line arriving in October 1898. The "Dorsey Trailer Company" was constructed at the end of this railroad line, and this company manufactured the highway trailers that served on railroads and highways starting with the piggyback railroad or containerized cargo boom of the second half of the 20th century. The new railroad line ended in West Elba, where the "New Town" industrial section of the town was located. The Seaboard System Railroad ceased all railroad service to Elba, including freight service, on November 27, 1984.
The Pea River is an essential component of the history of Elba. The river was originally called the Talakatchee River by the Creek Indians. (In the Creek language, talak means "pea", and hatchee means "small river".) The Pea River frequently flooded, causing great damage to the town. The Lincoln flood of 1865, named for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in the same year, was the first to destroy the town. Another devastating flood occurred in 1929 when the river crested at a depth of 43.5 feet (13.3 m) early on March 15. Airplanes were used to drop supplies to the completely inundated town. There was only one death from the flood, an African-American man named "Phoe" Larkins. A child born at the Elba Hotel during this flood was named "Noah Tucker" after the biblical character Noah. Vivian Harper received the Theodore N. Vail Silver Medal for her heroic actions during the flood.
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