How to Choose a Dental Assistant School near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant college near Muscle Shoals AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college’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 money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one 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 complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional 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 roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Muscle Shoals AL dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 Muscle Shoals AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also 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 regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Muscle Shoals AL dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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 interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Choosing an online dental assistant program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Muscle Shoals AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Muscle Shoals AL area programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Muscle Shoals AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Muscle Shoals AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Muscle Shoals AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Muscle Shoals AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Muscle Shoals AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Muscle Shoals AL area programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask 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 programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Muscle Shoals AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Muscle Shoals AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What made you choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Right Dental Assistant Program near Muscle Shoals AL
Picking the right 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 several alternatives available to obtain 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Muscle Shoals AL.
Tell Me About Muscle Shoals Alabama
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Muscle Shoals is the largest city in Colbert County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Muscle Shoals was 13,146. The estimated population in 2015 was 13,706.
Both the city and the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Area (including four cities in Colbert and Lauderdale counties) are commonly called "the Shoals".Northwest Alabama Regional Airport serves the Shoals region, located in the northwest section of the state.
Due to its strategic location along the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals played a key role in historic land disputes between Native Americans and Anglo-American settlers in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It was also the site of an attempted community development project by Henry Ford in 1922. Since the 1960s, the city has been known for music – developing the "Muscle Shoals Sound", as local recording studios (including FAME Studios in the late 1950s and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in 1969) produced hit records that shaped the history of popular music. The original streets of Muscle Shoals were named after streets in Detroit, Michigan due to Henry Ford's influence in the area. Ford Motor Company operated a plant in the Listerhill community 3 miles east of Muscle Shoals for many years before closing in 1982. Just like Detroit, Woodward Avenue is the main road through the city. Henry Ford's inability to acquire land from the Tennessee Valley Authority foiled his desire to create a 75-mile Industrial Megalopolis from Decatur to the Tri-State border of Pickwick Lake.
There are several explanations on how the city got its name. One is that the city gets its name from a former natural feature of the Tennessee River, namely a shallow zone where mussels were gathered. When the area was first settled, the distinct spelling "mussel" to refer to a shellfish had not yet been fully adopted.
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