How to Find the Best Dental Assistant Training Program near Birmingham Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Birmingham AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Birmingham AL dental practice and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing 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 vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alabama vocational 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 practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Birmingham AL dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant course might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Birmingham AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Birmingham AL area schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental assistant school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Birmingham AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Birmingham AL college you select has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 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 college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Birmingham AL area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Birmingham 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Birmingham AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Birmingham AL area schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Birmingham AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure 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 Birmingham AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Birmingham AL?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Birmingham Alabama area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Birmingham (/ˈbɜːrmɪŋhæm/ BUR-ming-ham) is a city located in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2017 population of 210,710, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2017, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,149,807, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's second largest city and, at the time, a major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized immigrant labor (primarily Irish and Italian), along with African-American labor from rural Alabama, could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.:14
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it nicknames such as "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, rails and railroad cars, were manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the "Deep South" have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.
How Many Years Of School To Become A Dental Assistant Birmingham Alabama
Enrolling in the right dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in How Many Years Of School To Become A Dental Assistant and wanting info on How Long Is Dental Assistant School. But as we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Birmingham AL.
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