How to Become a Dental Assistant in Lanett Alabama
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Lanett AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete 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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Lanett AL
Dental assistants are an important part of any Lanett AL dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Lanett AL
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alabama junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with Lanett AL dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Choosing an online dental assistant course might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lanett AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Lanett AL area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 Lanett AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Right 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 Lanett AL school you choose offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical 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. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Lanett AL area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Lanett 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lanett AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Lanett AL area schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Lanett AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Lanett AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Lanett AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Lanett Alabama that you may find helpful.
Lanett is a city in Chambers County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,468, down from 7,897 in 2000. Lanett, originally called Bluffton, is located in eastern Alabama, on the Chattahoochee River, southwest of Atlanta. The city's name is derived from Lafayette Lanier and Theodore Bennett, founders of the West Point Manufacturing Company.
Lanett is located on the eastern edge of Chambers County at 32°51'48.326" North, 85°11'58.862" West (32.863424, -85.199684). Its eastern boundary is the Alabama–Georgia state line, with the town of West Point, Georgia, bordering Lanett to the east. Interstate 85 forms the southeast boundary of Lanett, with the city of Valley, Alabama, on the other side of the highway. The unincorporated community of Huguley is along Lanett's southwest border.
The Chattahoochee River forms the state line and eastern boundary of Lanett from I-85 north to the downtown area, at which point the state line turns north-northwest and becomes a land boundary between Lanett and West Point, Georgia.
Choose the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Lanett AL
Enrolling in the right dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively 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 obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Lanett AL.
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