How to Select a Dental Hygienist School near Alexander City Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Alexander City AL is an important initial 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 far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role 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 practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alexander City AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Alexander City AL dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alexander City AL area junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alexander City AL area trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Alexander City AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alexander City AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Alexander City AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Alexander City AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Alexander City AL school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Alexander City AL dental practice. They help 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 Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Alexander City AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Alexander City AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near your Alexander City AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Hygienist candidates is "What drove you to choose Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you might 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 specifically to Hygiene, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Find the Best Dental Hygienist School near Alexander City AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Alexander City AL.
A Bit About Alexander City Alabama
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (180 km2) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
The city's economy was traditionally based on the textile industry, but in recent times its economic base has become more diversified as textile jobs have gone elsewhere.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
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