How to Become a Dental Assistant in Atmore Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Atmore AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant in Atmore AL
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Atmore AL dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Atmore AL
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Atmore AL dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Atmore AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Atmore AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied 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 valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Atmore AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Atmore AL college you select offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Atmore AL area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Atmore 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Atmore AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Atmore AL area programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Atmore AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Atmore AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Atmore AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Atmore Alabama that you may find helpful.
Atmore is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1907. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 10,194, with an estimated population of 10,006 in 2014. Atmore is in the planning stages to increase its economic base with additions in its new Rivercane development along the I-65 corridor.
Atmore has completed requirements to be recognized as an Alabama Community of Excellence at the upcoming Alabama League of Municipalities Convention. City officials are also working with the Alabama Historical Commission to have the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Atmore is located in western Escambia County at 31°1′23″N 87°29′31″W / 31.02306°N 87.49194°W / 31.02306; -87.49194 (31.023183, -87.492067). Its southern border is the Florida state line. The center of town is at the intersection of U.S. Route 31 and Alabama State Route 21, while a new section of the city has been incorporated 6 miles (10 km) to the north around Exit 57 of Interstate 65. US 31 leads southwest 20 miles (32 km) to Bay Minette and east 28 miles (45 km) to Brewton. Mobile is 51 miles (82 km) to the southwest via US 31 and I-65, while Pensacola, Florida, is 49 miles (79 km) south via AL 21, Florida State Road 97, and U.S. Route 29.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant Program near Atmore AL
Choosing the right dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Atmore AL.
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