How to Select a Dental Hygienist College near Auburn University Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Auburn University AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges 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 provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Auburn University AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Auburn University AL dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Auburn University AL area community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Auburn University AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Auburn University AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Auburn University AL area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal 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 planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Auburn University AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alabama college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Auburn University AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Auburn University AL program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Auburn University AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn University AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal 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 practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Auburn University AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Auburn University AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What made you select Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Auburn University AL
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn University AL.
A Bit About Auburn University Alabama
Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.
Auburn is a historic college town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabama's fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990. U.S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The city's unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: “Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain...”
Inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County, Georgia. These settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area.
Auburn was incorporated on February 2, 1839, in what was then Macon County, covering an area of 2 square miles (5.2 km2). By that time, Methodist and Baptist churches had been established, and a school had been built and had come into operation. In the mid-1840s, separate academies for boys and girls were established in addition to the primary school. This concentration of educational institutions led to a rapid influx of families from the planter class into Auburn in the 1840s and 1850s. By 1858, of the roughly 1,000 free residents of Auburn, some 500 were students.
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