How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant School near Livingston Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Livingston AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months 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. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Livingston AL dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 assisting the Livingston AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Livingston AL dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant school can be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Livingston AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies 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 online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Livingston AL area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Livingston AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama school you select has 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, a large number of Livingston AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep 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 school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Livingston AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Livingston AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Livingston AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Livingston AL area schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Livingston AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Livingston AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in 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 need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Find the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Livingston AL
Selecting the right dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend 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 better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Livingston AL.
Tell Me About Livingston Alabama
Livingston is a city in Sumter County, Alabama, United States. By an act of the state legislature, it was incorporated on January 10, 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 3,485, up from 3,297 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Sumter County. It was named in honor of Edward Livingston, of the Livingston family of New York.
Livingston is located at 32°35′14″N 88°11′17″W / 32.58722°N 88.18806°W / 32.58722; -88.18806 (32.587332, -88.188161).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.2 square miles (19 km2), of which 7.1 square miles (18 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (1.11%) is water.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,485 people residing in the city. 63.8% were African American, 34.4% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander and 0.6% of two more races. 0.7% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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