How to Become a Dental Assistant in Pleasant Grove Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training course near Pleasant Grove AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training comes more expense. We will talk about 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 review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Pleasant Grove AL
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Pleasant Grove AL dental practice and can carry out a variety of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Programs near Pleasant Grove AL
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Pleasant Grove AL dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Pleasant Grove AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Pleasant Grove AL area colleges you are reviewing 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 best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Pleasant Grove AL often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Pleasant Grove AL school you select offers the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Pleasant Grove AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Pleasant Grove AL dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pleasant Grove AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Pleasant Grove AL area schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Pleasant Grove AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Pleasant Grove AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Pleasant Grove AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Pleasant Grove Alabama that you may find helpful.
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
It was established in 1889, but incorporated as a city in January 1937. The incorporation came about by reason of a rather unusual circumstance. The town sits on land honeycombed by coal mines. For many years the residents had relied on water wells for their water supply. As years passed and more mining was done, Pleasant Grove found itself confronted with a problem. Residents would sometimes go to their well to draw water only to find there was none. The water had gone into the mines.
During the mid to late 30’s, the Federal Government had a program for financing the building of local water systems. In exploring the possibility of securing such funds, it was revealed that in order to secure such financing a community must be legally incorporated. At this time the incorporation became a reality.
The first appointed Mayor of Pleasant Grove was W.P. Stone. The city is governed by a mayor and five council members who serve four-year terms. Elections for city officials is held during the summer of each leap year with four-year terms beginning the first Monday in October. The area known as Pleasant Grove, Alabama was first homesteaded in September 1836. Pleasant Grove is in Jefferson County. Although no one seems to know when or exactly how the town came by its name, old documents indicate that at least part of this area was called Pleasant Grove as early as 1884. Pleasant Grove was made up of four communities which included Frog Pond, Lizard Ridge, Cottage Hill, and Pleasant Grove.
Select the Best Dental Assistant College near Pleasant Grove AL
Selecting the right dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your training 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 schools usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Pleasant Grove AL.
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