How to Become a Dental Assistant in Anniston Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant program near Anniston AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant training 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, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental 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 provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants in Anniston AL
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Anniston AL dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Anniston AL
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Anniston AL dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant school might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary 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 necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Anniston AL area schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Anniston AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually 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 verify that the Anniston AL college you decide on offers the program that you want. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides adequate 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, make sure that the Anniston AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Anniston AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Anniston AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Anniston AL area schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Anniston AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Anniston AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Anniston AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Anniston Alabama that you may find helpful.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Anniston AL
Picking the ideal dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, 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 receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Anniston AL.
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