How to Choose a Dental Hygienist School near Union Springs Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Union Springs AL is an important first 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 much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Union Springs AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed 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 Union Springs AL dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ 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. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Union Springs AL area community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Union Springs 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 component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Union Springs AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Union Springs AL area programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Union Springs AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Union Springs AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 ideal college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Union Springs AL school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Union Springs AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Union Springs AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can 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 most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Union Springs AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Union Springs AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, 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 need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask Dental Hygiene prospects is "What made you select Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist School near Union Springs AL
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Union Springs AL.
A Bit About Union Springs Alabama
Union Springs, Alabama
Union Springs is a city in and county seat of Bullock County, Alabama, United States. The population was 3,980 at the 2010 census.
The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.
Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804). The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.
The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.
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