How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Program near Camden Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Camden AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 Camden AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Camden AL dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working 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 & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Camden AL area community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent 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 comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Camden AL area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Camden AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Camden AL area programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School 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 condition in nearly 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Camden AL frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Camden AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Camden AL college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Camden AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Camden AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Camden AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Camden AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy 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 prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What made you select Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what attributes and talents you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Camden AL
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Camden AL.
A Bit About Camden Alabama
Camden is a city in and the county seat of Wilcox County, Alabama, United States. The population was 2,020 at the 2010 census, down from 2,257 in 2000, at which time it was a town.
What is now Camden was established on property donated by Thomas Dunn from his plantation holdings in order to have a new town founded on the site in 1833 to serve as the county seat. Dunn's Federal style house, built in 1825, is the oldest documented house in the town. The first county seat was in the community of Canton Bend.
The county seat was moved in 1833 to Barboursville, later renamed Camden. It had been named Barboursville in honor of United States Congressman Philip Barbour of Virginia. Incorporated in 1841, Camden was renamed by local physician John D. Caldwell in honor of his hometown of Camden, South Carolina.
The area depended on cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop, which was worked by numerous African-American slaves. The earliest documented industries in the town were a brickyard, sawmill, and window fabricator. The Camden Phenix was the town's earliest known newspaper. Townspeople founded a girls' school in 1844, the Wilcox Female Seminary and Female Institute, whose red-brick Greek-Revival style building was constructed from 1845–50. In 1976 the former school was adapted to house the Wilcox County Historical Society.
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