How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Fulton Alabama
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Fulton AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Fulton AL dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 Fulton AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fulton AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant college may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fulton AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Fulton AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Fulton AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Fulton AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Fulton AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Fulton 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching 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 Fulton AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Fulton AL area colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Fulton AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near your Fulton AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required 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 illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant School near Fulton AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Fulton AL.
Tell Me About Fulton Alabama
As of the census of 2000, there were 308 people, 122 households, and 87 families residing in the town. The population density was 123.6 people per square mile (47.8/km²). There were 139 housing units at an average density of 55.8 per square mile (21.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.14% White and 17.86% Black or African American.
There were 122 households out of which 38.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.0% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $23,750, and the median income for a family was $33,500. Males had a median income of $29,107 versus $15,417 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,602. About 11.8% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under the age of eighteen and 16.7% of those sixty five or over.
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