How to Pick a Dental Assistant Program near Pennington Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant school near Pennington AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Pennington AL dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Pennington AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each 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 tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Pennington AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely 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 Pennington AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Pennington AL area programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college 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 Pennington AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide 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 alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Pennington AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Pennington AL area college 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 programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Pennington 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pennington AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Pennington AL area programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost based 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 besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Pennington AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Pennington 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What made you select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Assistant School near Pennington AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend 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 in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Pennington AL.
Tell Me About Pennington Alabama
As of the census of 2000, there were 353 people, 142 households, and 103 families residing in the town. The population density was 188.6 people per square mile (72.9/km²). There were 197 housing units at an average density of 105.3 per square mile (40.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 64.31% White, 34.84% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.57% from other races.
There were 142 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.8% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $32,917, and the median income for a family was $44,375. Males had a median income of $33,438 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,022. About 13.7% of families and 20.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.
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