How to Become a Dental Assistant in Mobile Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training course near Mobile AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the school’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Mobile AL
Dental assistants are an important part of any Mobile AL dental practice and can perform a variety 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 efficiently. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Programs near Mobile AL
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alabama junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. 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. Some programs also offer internships with Mobile AL dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant course can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. 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 available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Mobile AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Mobile AL area schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Mobile AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the Mobile AL school you select has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Mobile AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Mobile AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Mobile AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Mobile AL area schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Mobile AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Mobile AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Mobile AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Mobile Alabama that you may find helpful.
Mobile (/moʊˈbiːl/ moh-BEEL; French pronunciation: [mɔ.bil]) is the county seat of Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the third most populous city in Alabama, the most populous in Mobile County, and the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
Alabama's only saltwater port, Mobile is located on the Mobile River at the head of the Mobile Bay and the north-central Gulf Coast. The Port of Mobile has always played a key role in the economic health of the city, beginning with the settlement as an important trading center between the French colonists and Native Americans, down to its current role as the 12th-largest port in the United States.
Mobile is the principal municipality of the Mobile metropolitan area. This region of 412,992 residents is composed solely of Mobile County; it is the third-largest metropolitan statistical area in the state. Mobile is the largest city in the Mobile-Daphne−Fairhope CSA, with a total population of 604,726, the second largest in the state. As of 2011[update], the population within a 60-mile (100 km) radius of Mobile is 1,262,907.
Select the Right Dental Assistant College near Mobile AL
Choosing the right dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require about 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Mobile AL.
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Dental assistant jobs are expected to grow by 31% between 2010 and 2020, leading to 91,600 new jobs in 10 years. This growth rate is much faster than the national average. Annual salary, hourly wage: $38,660 a year, $18.59 an hour; Suggested education: Associate of Science in Dental Assisting, Bachelor of Science in Dentistry
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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.