How to Choose the Right Dental Assistant Degree Program near Atmore Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant school near Atmore 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 far more to performing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. 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 more extensive training comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should 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 provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Atmore AL dental practice and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Programs
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can require 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Atmore AL dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant course can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Atmore AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Atmore AL area schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental assistant school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Atmore AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available 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 confirm that the Atmore AL school you select has the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Atmore AL area college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Atmore AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Atmore AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Atmore AL area colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Atmore AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Atmore AL home at nights 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 protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Atmore AL?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Atmore Alabama area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Atmore is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1907. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 10,194, with an estimated population of 10,006 in 2014. Atmore is in the planning stages to increase its economic base with additions in its new Rivercane development along the I-65 corridor.
Atmore has completed requirements to be recognized as an Alabama Community of Excellence at the upcoming Alabama League of Municipalities Convention. City officials are also working with the Alabama Historical Commission to have the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Atmore is located in western Escambia County at 31°1′23″N 87°29′31″W / 31.02306°N 87.49194°W / 31.02306; -87.49194 (31.023183, -87.492067). Its southern border is the Florida state line. The center of town is at the intersection of U.S. Route 31 and Alabama State Route 21, while a new section of the city has been incorporated 6 miles (10 km) to the north around Exit 57 of Interstate 65. US 31 leads southwest 20 miles (32 km) to Bay Minette and east 28 miles (45 km) to Brewton. Mobile is 51 miles (82 km) to the southwest via US 31 and I-65, while Pensacola, Florida, is 49 miles (79 km) south via AL 21, Florida State Road 97, and U.S. Route 29.
Best Dental Assistant Schools Atmore Alabama
Picking the right dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Best Dental Assistant Schools and wanting info on How To Get A Dental Assistant Certificate. But as you now know, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Atmore AL.
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