How to Become a Dental Assistant in Gardendale Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant program near Gardendale AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the school’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 generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors 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 duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Gardendale AL
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Gardendale AL dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Gardendale AL
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. 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. 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 Gardendale AL dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Gardendale AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Gardendale 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 help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Gardendale AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Gardendale AL college you select offers the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 just interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Gardendale AL area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Gardendale AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Gardendale AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Gardendale AL area schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one 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 witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Gardendale AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Gardendale AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Gardendale AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Gardendale Alabama that you may find helpful.
A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.
In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.
Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Gardendale AL
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Gardendale AL.
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