How to Pick a Dental Hygienist School near Chapman Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Chapman AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at 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 hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 supporting the Chapman AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 graduate 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 licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Chapman AL dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Chapman AL area community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 Chapman AL area trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Chapman AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced 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 receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Chapman AL area schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 Chapman AL frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Chapman AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Chapman AL school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Chapman AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chapman AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Chapman AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Chapman AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask Dental Hygiene candidates is "What compelled you to pick Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent Dental Hygienist and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Chapman AL
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chapman AL.
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