How to Select a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Greenville Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Greenville AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Greenville AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Greenville AL dental office and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Greenville AL area community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Greenville AL area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Greenville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed 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 provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Greenville AL area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included 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 Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Greenville AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alabama college you select 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, many Greenville AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Greenville AL college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Greenville AL dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Greenville AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Greenville 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 getting your education and have to attend classes near your Greenville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Hygiene prospects is "What drove you to decide on Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Greenville AL
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Greenville AL.
A Bit About Greenville Alabama
Greenville is a city in Butler County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 8,135. The city is the county seat of Butler County and is known as the Camellia City. The movement to change the official Alabama state flower from the goldenrod to the camellia originated in Greenville with legislative sponsors LaMont Glass and H.B. Taylor.
Greenville was first settled in 1819. Its original name was Buttsville, but after becoming the county seat in 1822, its name was changed to Greenville, in remembrance of the former locale in South Carolina of many of the original settlers. The first county seat was at Fort Dale, a fortification that was named for Sam Dale, who fought to defend the area during the Creek War. The site of Fort Dale lies on the north of the city near the Fort Dale Cemetery, along what is now Alabama Highway 185.
The namesake of the county, Captain William Butler, was killed during the Creek War. He is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, which is across from the oldest church in Butler County, the First United Methodist Church of Greenville.
During World War II, a satellite camp for German prisoners was based in Greenville.
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