How to Become a Dental Assistant in Prattville Alabama
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Prattville AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Prattville AL
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Prattville AL dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Training Options near Prattville AL
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Prattville AL dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant course can be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Prattville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Prattville AL area programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify 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 Prattville AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Prattville AL college you choose offers the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Prattville AL area program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care 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 ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Prattville AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Prattville AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Prattville AL area colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Prattville AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Prattville AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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 issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Prattville AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Prattville Alabama that you may find helpful.
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant Program near Prattville AL
Picking the right dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking 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 Prattville AL.
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