How to Become a Dental Assistant in Columbiana Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Columbiana AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. 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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training comes more expense. We will discuss 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 review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants in Columbiana AL
Dental assistants are an important part of any Columbiana AL dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Programs near Columbiana AL
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alabama community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Columbiana AL dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Choosing an online dental assistant program can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely 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 comfort of your Columbiana AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Columbiana AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Columbiana AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Columbiana AL school you select 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 school 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, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Columbiana AL area program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Columbiana AL dental practice. They help 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Columbiana AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Columbiana AL area schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes 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 tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Columbiana AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Columbiana AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Columbiana AL?
Following is some interesting background information about Columbiana Alabama that you may find helpful.
Columbiana, originally called Columbia, was selected as the county seat of Shelby County in 1826 over rivals Calera and Montevallo. After the selection as the county seat, Columbiana celebrated by drilling holes in a large pine tree and packing it with gunpowder. The tree was blown up and the sound could be heard for miles. Later in 1826, the courthouse was moved to an old school building in Columbiana.
An act of the Alabama Legislature officially changed the name of Shelby County's county seat to Columbiana on January 13, 1832. Columbiana was incorporated on December 5, 1837 with corporate limits one-quarter of a mile in each direction from the public square.
In 1854, the decision was made to build a larger courthouse at the south end of “Silk Stocking Road”, now Main Street. From 1854 to 1908 several additions and changes were made to the courthouse. During the American Civil War, Columbiana was connected to the nearby town of Shelby by the Shelby Iron Company Railroad, which connected the Shelby Iron Works to the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The Iron Works supplied iron to the C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, which moved to Columbiana in 1862 after the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. The Churchill foundry made eight and ten pound shot, eight and ten pound shells, and shells for Blakely rifles. The C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, Shelby Iron Works and the railroad were destroyed by Union forces on March 31, 1865, as part of Wilson's Raid.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant School near Columbiana AL
Picking the right dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 typically require roughly 1 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 credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Columbiana AL.
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