How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Muscle Shoals AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 Muscle Shoals AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Muscle Shoals AL dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with 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 provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Muscle Shoals AL area junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to have 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 Muscle Shoals AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind 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 available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Muscle Shoals AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by looking at 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 should ask of the Muscle Shoals AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Muscle Shoals AL often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama school you choose has the program that’s right for you. 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 Muscle Shoals AL dental practices 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 a good 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers sufficient 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, verify that the Muscle Shoals AL school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Muscle Shoals AL dental practice. They help 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 Muscle Shoals AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Muscle Shoals AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Muscle Shoals AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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 Decide to Become a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters frequently ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What drove you to choose Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Hygiene, as well as a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you want to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Muscle Shoals AL
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Muscle Shoals AL.
A Bit About Muscle Shoals Alabama
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Muscle Shoals is the largest city in Colbert County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Muscle Shoals was 13,146. The estimated population in 2015 was 13,706.
Both the city and the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Area (including four cities in Colbert and Lauderdale counties) are commonly called "the Shoals".Northwest Alabama Regional Airport serves the Shoals region, located in the northwest section of the state.
Since the 1960s, the city has been known for music – developing the "Muscle Shoals Sound", as local recording studios (including FAME Studios in the late 1950s and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in 1969) produced hit records that shaped the history of popular music.
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Dr. James Ryerson
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The quirkiest roadside attraction in each of Alabama's 67 counties
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Shoals dentistry offering free services for veterans on Nov. 11
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