How to Select a Dental Assistant School near Moulton Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Moulton AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Moulton AL dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Moulton AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Moulton AL dental offices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant school may be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Moulton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Moulton AL area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Moulton AL typically desire or require that new hires 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 Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you select has the program that’s right for you. 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 Moulton AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Moulton AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Moulton AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Moulton AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Moulton AL area programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Moulton AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near your Moulton AL home in the evenings 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Moulton AL
Choosing the right dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Moulton AL.
Tell Me About Moulton Alabama
Moulton is a city in Lawrence County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. Although it incorporated in 1819, along with its rival of Courtland, to compete for the honor of county seat, it did not first appear on the U.S. Census rolls until 1900. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,471, its record high. The city has been the county seat of Lawrence County since 1820. It has been the largest community in the county since the 1920 U.S. Census.
By the time Alabama became a state in 1819, an inn had been erected at the site of what is now Moulton to serve migrants along the various early paths that passed through the area. Shortly after Alabama achieved statehood, both Moulton and Courtland (to the north) incorporated and competed for the county seat of Lawrence County. Governor Thomas Bibb awarded the seat to Moulton as the most centrally located of the two within the county. The city is named for Lieutenant Michael Moulton, a soldier killed while fighting under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.
Moulton is located at 34°28′56″N 87°17′8″W / 34.48222°N 87.28556°W / 34.48222; -87.28556 (34.482307, -87.285621). The city is concentrated along Alabama State Route 33 southwest of Decatur. Alabama State Route 24 passes through the northern part of the city, and Alabama State Route 157 passes through its eastern section. The William B. Bankhead National Forest lies to the southwest of Moulton.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,471 people, 1,482 households, and 912 families residing in the city. The population density was 552.1 people per square mile (213.3/km²). There were 1,486 housing units at an average density of 251.7 per square mile (97.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.2% White, 13.1% Black or African American, 4.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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