How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Program near Autaugaville Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Autaugaville AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Autaugaville AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After 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 Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Autaugaville AL dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling 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 mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Autaugaville AL area junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Autaugaville 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 as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Autaugaville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. 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 office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Autaugaville AL area schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Autaugaville AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama school you choose has 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Autaugaville AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 Autaugaville AL college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Autaugaville AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene colleges need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Autaugaville AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Autaugaville AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Autaugaville AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask Dental Hygiene candidates is "What compelled you to select Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot 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 thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Autaugaville AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly 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 schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Autaugaville AL.
A Bit About Autaugaville Alabama
Autaugaville is a town in Autauga County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 870. It is part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Autaugaville is located at 32°25′57″N 86°39′32″W / 32.432563°N 86.658752°W / 32.432563; -86.658752 (32.432563, -86.658752).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.8 square miles (20 km2), of which, 7.6 square miles (20 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it is water.
Autaugaville is part of the Autauga County School System and is home to Autaugaville School for prekindergarten to grade 12 students.
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