How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near Albertville Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Albertville AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, 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 cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Albertville AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Albertville AL dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 courses are available at Albertville AL area community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Albertville AL area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Albertville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Albertville AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Albertville AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Albertville AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Albertville AL program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Albertville AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 Albertville AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, 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 offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Albertville AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Albertville AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Hygiene prospects is "What compelled you to pick Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Dental Hygienist College near Albertville AL
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Albertville AL.
A Bit About Albertville Alabama
Albertville is a city in Marshall County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 21,160.
The area which today includes Albertville was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
During the American Civil War, the area around Albertville was the scene of several mid-level clashes between Union and Confederate forces.
The first non-indigenous settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
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