How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near Fulton Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Fulton AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role 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 discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Fulton AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When 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 Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Fulton AL dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide 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 programs are available at Fulton AL area junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Fulton AL area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fulton AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Fulton AL area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Fulton AL frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided 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 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. In order to work as a hygienist, many Fulton AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Fulton AL school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Fulton AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fulton AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate 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 if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Fulton AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Fulton AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask Dental Hygienist prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to ready some approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are so many 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 interests you in addition to the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Fulton AL
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fulton AL.
A Bit About Fulton Alabama
Fulton is a town in Clarke County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 272.
Fulton is located at 31°47'25.642" North, 87°43'58.544" West (31.790456, -87.732929).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 308 people, 122 households, and 87 families residing in the town. The population density was 123.6 people per square mile (47.8/km²). There were 139 housing units at an average density of 55.8 per square mile (21.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 82.14% White and 17.86% Black or African American.
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