How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Arlington Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Arlington AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year 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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Arlington AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Arlington AL dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Arlington AL area junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Arlington AL area trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Arlington AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Arlington 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 help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Arlington AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama school you choose has 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 earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Arlington AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Arlington AL college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Arlington AL dental practice. They help 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Arlington AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Arlington AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Arlington AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, 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 preparing to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask Dental Hygiene candidates is "What made you choose Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Since there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Arlington AL
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Arlington AL.
A Bit About Arlington Alabama
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia coterminous with the U.S. Census Bureau's census-designated place of Arlington, which is the second-largest principal city of the Washington metropolitan area in the United States. As a result, the county is often referred to in the region simply as "Arlington" or "Arlington, Virginia". In 2016, the county's population was estimated at 230,050, making it the sixth-largest county in Virginia, or the fourth-largest city if it were incorporated as such. It is the highest-income county in the U.S. by median family income, and has the highest concentration of singles in the region.
The county is situated in Northern Virginia on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River directly across from Washington, D.C., of which it was once a part. With a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Arlington is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the U.S., and by reason of state law regarding population density, has no incorporated towns within its borders. Due to the county's proximity to downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington is home to many important installations for the capital region and U.S. government, including the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery. Many schools and universities have campuses in Arlington, most prominently the Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University.
The area that now constitutes Arlington County was originally part of Fairfax County in the Colony of Virginia. Land grants from the British monarch were awarded to prominent Englishmen in exchange for political favors and efforts at development. One of the grantees was Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, who lends his name to both Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax. The county's name "Arlington" comes via Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, a Plantation along the Potomac River, and Arlington House, the family residence on that property. (Ultimately, the name is a variant of Harlington, London, seat of the first Baron of Arlington; it in turn derives from Hygerǣd, an Anglo-Saxon noble's name.) George Washington Parke Custis, grandson of First Lady Martha Washington, acquired this land in 1802. The estate was eventually passed down to Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of General Robert E. Lee. The property later became Arlington National Cemetery during the American Civil War, and eventually lent its name to present-day Arlington County.
The area that now contains Arlington County was ceded to the new United States federal government by Virginia. With the passage of the Residence Act in 1790, Congress approved a new permanent capital to be located on the Potomac River, the exact area to be selected by U.S. President George Washington. The Residence Act originally only allowed the President to select a location within Maryland as far east as what is now the Anacostia River. However, President Washington shifted the federal territory's borders to the southeast in order to include the pre-existing city of Alexandria at the District's southern tip. In 1791, Congress amended the Residence Act to approve the new site, including the territory ceded by Virginia. However, this amendment to the Residence Act specifically prohibited the "erection of the public buildings otherwise than on the Maryland side of the River Potomac." As permitted by the United States Constitution, the initial shape of the federal district was a square, measuring 10 miles (16 km) on each side, totaling 100 square miles (260 km2). During 1791–92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants placed boundary stones at every mile point. Fourteen of these markers were in Virginia and many of the stones are still standing.
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