How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Anniston Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist training near Anniston AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving 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 12 months to finish 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 more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Anniston AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 licensure exams. After 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 a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Anniston AL dental practice and can perform a variety of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing 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 regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Anniston AL area community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Anniston AL area community colleges and technical schools. 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Anniston AL area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Anniston AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Anniston 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 school has an excellent 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Anniston AL school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Anniston AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene colleges need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Anniston AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Anniston AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near your Anniston AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, 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 Choose to Be a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygienist prospects is "What made you decide on Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Enroll in the Right Dental Hygienist College near Anniston AL
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston AL.
A Bit About Anniston Alabama
Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666. The city is the county seat of Calhoun County and one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Named "The Model City" by Atlanta newspaperman Henry W. Grady for its careful planning in the late 19th century, the city is situated on the slope of Blue Mountain.
Along with Selma, Alabama, it ranks as one of the top cities by most violent crimes in the United States, according to FBI data.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
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