How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Clanton Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Clanton AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Clanton AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Clanton AL dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing 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 handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Clanton AL area junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Clanton AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Clanton AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Clanton AL area schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Clanton AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Clanton AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent 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 assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Clanton AL school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Clanton AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Clanton AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Clanton AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Clanton AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's important to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Hygiene prospects is "What made you choose Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent Dental Hygienist and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Enroll in the Best Dental Hygienist School near Clanton AL
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Clanton AL.
A Bit About Clanton Alabama
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Prior to establishment in 1868, the Town of Clanton was known as the community of "Goose Pond". Baker County was renamed to Chilton County and the community of "Goose Pond" became the Town of Clanton. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town.
Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
Early civil rights activist Ida B. Wells reproduced a photographic postcard depicting an 1891 lynching in Clanton to educate the white public of the atrocities committed against blacks.
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