How to Find the Right Dental Assistant College near Greensboro Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant program near Greensboro AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining 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 finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Greensboro AL dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary 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 certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Greensboro 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 room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Greensboro AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Greensboro AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Greensboro AL area schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Greensboro AL often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure 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. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Greensboro AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Greensboro AL area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Greensboro AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Greensboro AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Greensboro AL area programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized 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 experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs 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 include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Greensboro AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near your Greensboro AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have 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 because of illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must organize a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Assistant Program near Greensboro AL
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, 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 education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Greensboro AL.
Tell Me About Greensboro Alabama
Greensboro is a city in Hale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 2,497, down from 2,731 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Hale County, Alabama, which was not organized until 1867. It is part of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Greensboro was incorporated as a town in December 1823 as "Greensborough". It was named in honor of American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. The name was soon simplified to "Greensboro". The community was known as "Troy" prior to incorporation.
Reflecting the history of the antebellum years and a culture built on cotton plantations to produce the commodity crop, several sites on the National Register of Historic Places in or near Greensboro are connected to this past. These include Glencairn, the Greensboro Historic District, Magnolia Grove, the McGehee-Stringfellow House, Millwood, and the Payne House.
One hundred years later, African Americans in Greensboro were among those in the state continuing to work to regain their civil rights after years of second-class status under Jim Crow. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, came here in the course of his civil rights projects in the state. In 1968, he hid from Ku Klux Klan members in what is now operated as the Safe House Black Historic Museum.
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