How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Hamilton Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Hamilton AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. 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 time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Hamilton AL practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Hamilton AL dental practice and can perform a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling 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 mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide 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 courses are provided at Hamilton AL area junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Hamilton AL area trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Hamilton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Hamilton AL area programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Hamilton AL often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alabama school you decide on 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 have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Hamilton 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 college has an excellent 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Hamilton AL school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Hamilton 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 Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Hamilton AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alabama programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Hamilton AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Hamilton AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Hygienist prospects is "What made you select Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College near Hamilton AL
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hamilton AL.
A Bit About Hamilton Alabama
Hamilton is a city in Marion County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1896. At the 2010 census the population was 6,885. The city is the county seat of Marion County and since 1980 has been its largest city, surpassing Winfield. It had previously been the largest town in 1910.
Hamilton is located at 34°8′7″N 87°59′20″W / 34.13528°N 87.98889°W / 34.13528; -87.98889 (34.135305, -87.988980), along the Buttahatchee River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.1 square miles (93 km2), of which 36.1 square miles (93 km2) is land and 0.03% is water.
Hamilton was founded in the early 19th century by settlers who moved to the Alabama Territory from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas. It is built upon lands that once served as "hunting grounds" for the Chickasaw Indians. The city was first called Toll Gate, but its name later changed in honor of one of its distinguished citizens, Captain Albert James Hamilton (known as A.J. Hamilton), who had represented Marion County in the state legislature in the sessions of 1869, 1874 and 1875. Captain Hamilton donated forty acres of his land to the town. The same forty acres were then divided into lots and sold to help defray the cost of building the courthouse. The Toll Gate community was elected in 1881 to be the next county seat, and by 1883 the Marion county courthouse in Pikeville had ceased to be functional. When the courthouse was moved from Pikeville to Toll Gate, the town's name was then changed from Toll Gate to Hamilton. On March 30, 1887, the newly built county courthouse was destroyed by fire. It was again rebuilt with wood, but replaced in 1901 with native sandstone quarried from the State.
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