How to Select a Dental Hygienist School near Ashland Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Ashland AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations 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 typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges 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 available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role 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 in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Ashland AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out 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 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Ashland AL dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect 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 programs are available at Ashland AL area community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally 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 Ashland AL area trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Ashland AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Ashland 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 evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Ashland AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama school you select 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Ashland AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 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 right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Ashland AL school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Ashland AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Ashland AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Alabama colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Ashland AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Ashland AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask Dental Hygiene candidates is "What drove you to select Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Hygiene, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts 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 enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist School near Ashland AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Ashland AL.
A Bit About Ashland Alabama
Ashland is a town and former city in Clay County, Alabama, United States. The population was 2,037 at the 2010 census. The town is the county seat of Clay County.
Clay County was formed by an act of the Alabama General Assembly on December 7, 1866. Less than a year later, Ashland was established as the county seat on land donated by Hollingsworth Watts for the construction of a courthouse. Ashland was incorporated in 1871 and was named for 19th century statesman Henry Clay's Kentucky estate home.
During the early years, the town grew very rapidly. The town continued to grow with the opening of Alabama's first graphite mine in 1899. When World War I ended, the market for graphite dropped drastically, thus ending the town's growth phase.
The 1930s brought the Great Depression and boll weevil to Ashland that destroyed the cotton industry. Farmers were forced to abandon what had been the community's major industry. Timber, poultry, and cabinet making became the dominant industries by the beginning of the 21st century.
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