How to Become a Dental Assistant in Clanton Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Clanton AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training comes more expense. We will cover 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 explore the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant in Clanton AL
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Clanton AL dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Programs near Clanton AL
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Clanton AL dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant school may be a good alternative for obtaining 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 via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Clanton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Clanton AL area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Clanton AL often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Clanton AL school you choose offers the program that you want. 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 strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select offers enough 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, verify that the Clanton AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Clanton AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Clanton AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Clanton AL area programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Clanton AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Clanton AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Clanton AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Clanton Alabama that you may find helpful.
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Prior to establishment in 1868, the Town of Clanton was known as the community of "Goose Pond". Baker County was renamed to Chilton County and the community of "Goose Pond" became the Town of Clanton. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town.
Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Clanton AL
Choosing the right dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When obtaining 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 addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Clanton AL.
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