How to Become a Dental Assistant in Auburn Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant school near Auburn AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Auburn AL
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Auburn AL dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Programs near Auburn AL
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Auburn AL dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course may be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Auburn AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Auburn AL area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Auburn AL often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Auburn AL school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. However, keep 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 college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might 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 school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Auburn AL area school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Auburn 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check 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 Auburn AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Auburn AL area programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total 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, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Auburn AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near your Auburn AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Auburn AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Auburn Alabama that you may find helpful.
Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.
Auburn is a historic college town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabama's fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990. U.S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The city's unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: “Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain...”
Inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County, Georgia. These settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Auburn AL
Picking the right dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Auburn AL.
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