How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist Program near Jefferson Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist training near Jefferson AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Jefferson 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 area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once 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 Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Jefferson AL dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 programs are provided at Jefferson AL area community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Jefferson AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Jefferson AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Jefferson AL area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. 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 examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Jefferson AL typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alabama school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Jefferson 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 exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Jefferson AL program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Jefferson 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Jefferson AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Jefferson AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Jefferson AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What made you decide on Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Jefferson AL
Picking the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Jefferson AL.
A Bit About Jefferson Alabama
Al Ricardo Jefferson (born January 4, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). He played high school basketball for Prentiss High School in Mississippi before skipping college to enter the 2004 NBA draft, where he was drafted 15th overall by the Boston Celtics. He has previously played for the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers.
Born in Monticello, Mississippi, Jefferson attended Prentiss High School in the small nearby town of Prentiss from 2000 to 2004. After starting for his varsity team as a freshman at Prentiss, he became one of the elite players in the country as a junior, drawing the attention of both college coaches around the country, and the scouts of the NBA. In his senior year for the Bulldogs, he averaged an astounding 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks per game as his Bulldogs team went on to lose in the Mississippi state class 3A semi-finals to Byhalia High School 88-73, in which Jefferson finished with 56 points.
Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Jefferson was listed as the No. 1 center and the No. 4 player in the nation in 2004. He had originally committed to Arkansas, but opted instead to make the jump to the NBA straight out of high school.
Jefferson was drafted with the 15th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 NBA draft, becoming the first high school player to be drafted by the Celtics (Kendrick Perkins was drafted by the Grizzlies, then traded to Boston on draft day in the 2003 NBA draft). He played primarily as a power forward and averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game during his rookie season.
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