How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Fruitdale Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Fruitdale AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school’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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Fruitdale AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled 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 Fruitdale AL dental office and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Fruitdale AL area junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 Fruitdale AL area community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fruitdale AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Fruitdale AL area programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Fruitdale AL often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Fruitdale AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Fruitdale AL college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Fruitdale 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fruitdale AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few 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 Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Fruitdale AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Fruitdale 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask Dental Hygiene applicants is "What drove you to decide on Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent Dental Hygienist and the leading choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Fruitdale AL
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fruitdale AL.
A Bit About Fruitdale Alabama
Washington County, Alabama
Washington County is a county in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,581. The county seat is Chatom. The county was named in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. It is a dry county, with the exception of Chatom.
The area of today's Washington County was long inhabited by various indigenous people. In historic times, European traders encountered first Choctaw and later Creek Indians, who had moved southwest from Georgia as early European settlers encroached on their land.
Washington County was organized on June 4, 1800 from the Tombigbee District of the Mississippi Territory by proclamation of territorial governor Winthrop Sargent. It was the first county organized in what would later become Alabama, as settlers moved westward after the American Revolutionary War. Washington County is the site of St. Stephens, the first territorial capital of Alabama. In 1807 former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested at Wakefield in Washington County, during his flight from being prosecuted for alleged treason (which he was eventually found innocent of).
Even though the U.S. government removed most of the Choctaw and Creek to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) west of the Mississippi River in the 1830s, some Native Americans remained behind and become state (and U.S.) citizens. They struggled to maintain their Choctaw culture through years during which the U.S. government imposed a binary system of dividing people into white and "all other" people of color (blacks and Indians). In 1979 Alabama recognized the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. Its members are concentrated along the border of Mobile and Washington counties.
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