How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Huntsville Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Huntsville AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Huntsville AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out 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 and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 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, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Huntsville AL dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their principal job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. 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 opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Huntsville AL area community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Huntsville AL area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Huntsville AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Huntsville AL area schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Huntsville AL typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Huntsville AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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 right school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Huntsville AL school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Huntsville AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Huntsville AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Huntsville AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Huntsville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, 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 have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Hygiene applicants is "What drove you to pick Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Hygiene, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Huntsville AL
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Huntsville AL.
A Bit About Huntsville Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 census. Huntsville is the third-largest city in Alabama and the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area, which at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871. The Huntsville Metropolitan Area's population was 417,593 in 2010 to become the 2nd largest in Alabama. Huntsville metro's population reached 441,000 by 2014.
It grew across nearby hills north of the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville to its "America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010" list.
The first settlers of the area were Muscogee-speaking people. The Chickasaw traditionally claim to have settled around 1300 after coming east across the Mississippi. A combination of factors, including depopulation due to disease, land disputes between the Choctaw and Cherokee, and pressures from the United States government had largely depopulated the area prior to 1805. That year Revolutionary War veteran John Hunt settled in the land around the Big Spring. The 1805 Treaty with the Chickasaws and the Cherokee Treaty of Washington of 1806 ceded native claims to the United States Government. The area was subsequently purchased by LeRoy Pope, who named the area Twickenham after the home village of his distant kinsman Alexander Pope.
Twickenham was carefully planned, with streets laid out on the northeast to southwest direction based on the flow of Big Spring. However, due to anti-British sentiment during this period, the name was changed to "Huntsville" to honor John Hunt, who had been forced to move to other land south of the new city.
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