How to Choose a Dental Assistant Training Program near Monroeville Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant college near Monroeville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Monroeville AL dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties 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 assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Monroeville AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. 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 & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Monroeville AL dental offices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant program might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Monroeville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Monroeville AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Monroeville AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Monroeville AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Monroeville AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Monroeville AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Monroeville AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Monroeville AL area colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Monroeville AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Monroeville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask Dental Assistant applicants is "What drove you to select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Monroeville AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Monroeville AL.
Tell Me About Monroeville Alabama
It is known as the hometown of two prominent writers of the post-World War II period, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, who were childhood friends in the 1930s. Lee's 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, earned her the Pulitzer Prize. The lasting fame of To Kill a Mockingbird became a tourist draw for the town. In 1997, the Alabama Legislature designated Monroeville and Monroe County as the "Literary Capital of Alabama."
The town was initially known as Walker's Mill and Store, named for Major Walker, the area's first white settler. In 1832, the county seat was relocated to Monroeville from Claiborne on the Alabama River. The settlement was briefly renamed "Centerville" due to its location in the center of the county, but then it was formally changed to Monroeville. The town was not formally incorporated until April 15, 1899.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km2), of which 13.4 square miles (34.6 km2) is land and 0.0077 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.05%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,862 people, 2,687 households, and 1,870 families residing in the city. The population density was 525.8 people per square mile (203.0/km²). There were 3,016 housing units at an average density of 231.1 per square mile (89.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 53.09% White, 44.84% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 0.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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