How to Become a Dental Assistant in Athens Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant training course near Athens AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in receiving 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 generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Assistant in Athens AL
Dental assistants are an important part of any Athens AL dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying 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
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Programs near Athens AL
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Athens AL dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course can be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Athens AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed 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 mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Athens AL area schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Athens AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper 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 Athens AL school you choose has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college 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, confirm that the Athens AL area school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Athens AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Athens AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Athens AL area schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 significant 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Athens AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Athens AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Athens AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Athens Alabama that you may find helpful.
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant Program near Athens AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing 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 Athens AL.
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Dental assistant: Prepare dental instruments and work areas, make dental patients feel comfortable, provide chair-side assistance to dentists during treatments, and carry out various administrative tasks. Some dental assistants are also licensed for taking x-rays.