How to Pick a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Alpine Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Alpine AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alpine AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Alpine AL dental office and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alpine AL area junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Alpine AL area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Alpine AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alpine AL area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Alpine AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Alpine AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 Alpine AL college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Alpine AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Alpine AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Alpine AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Alpine AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask Dental Hygienist prospects is "What made you decide on Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Hygiene, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College near Alpine AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Alpine AL.
A Bit About Alpine Alabama
Alpine, Alabama may refer to several places:
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