How to Select a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Valley Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Valley AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Valley AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Valley AL dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification 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 need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Valley AL area community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Valley 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Valley AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Valley AL area schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Valley AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Valley AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Valley AL college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Valley 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene programs need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Valley AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Valley AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Valley AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask Dental Hygienist candidates is "What drove you to choose Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Valley AL
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Valley AL.
A Bit About Valley Alabama
Chambers County, Alabama
Chambers County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 34,215. Its county seat is Lafayette. Its name is in honor of Henry H. Chambers, who served as a United States Senator from Alabama.
Chambers County is included in the Valley, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area and the Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL Combined Statistical Area.
Prior to contact with people of European descent, what is now Chambers County was inhabited by the Creek nation.
Chambers County was established on December 18, 1832.
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