How to Pick a Dental Hygienist Program near Mobile Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Mobile AL is an essential first step toward starting 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 choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 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 common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, 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 expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 Mobile AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Mobile AL dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- 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 consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose 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 available at Mobile AL area junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Mobile AL area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Mobile AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Mobile AL area programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Mobile AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Mobile AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Mobile AL school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Mobile AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Mobile AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer 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 in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Mobile AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near your Mobile AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Hygienist candidates is "What made you decide on Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies 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 multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Hygienist School near Mobile AL
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect 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 Mobile AL.
A Bit About Mobile Alabama
Mobile (/moʊˈbiːl/ moh-BEEL; French pronunciation: [mɔ.bil]) is the county seat of Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the third most populous city in Alabama, the most populous in Mobile County, and the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
Alabama's only saltwater port, Mobile is located on the Mobile River at the head of the Mobile Bay and the north-central Gulf Coast. The Port of Mobile has always played a key role in the economic health of the city, beginning with the settlement as an important trading center between the French colonists and Native Americans, down to its current role as the 12th-largest port in the United States.
Mobile is the principal municipality of the Mobile metropolitan area. This region of 412,992 residents is composed solely of Mobile County; it is the third-largest metropolitan statistical area in the state. Mobile is the largest city in the Mobile-Daphne−Fairhope CSA, with a total population of 604,726, the second largest in the state. As of 2011[update], the population within a 60-mile (100 km) radius of Mobile is 1,262,907.
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