How to Pick a Dental Hygienist School near Opp Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Opp AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, 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 are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged 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 looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Opp AL practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Opp AL dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Opp AL area junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to have 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 Opp AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Opp AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alabama programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Opp AL area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Opp AL typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alabama school you select 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, a large number of Opp AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but may 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 right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Opp AL school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Opp AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Opp AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Alabama colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Opp AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Opp 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask Dental Hygiene applicants is "What made you pick Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous variables 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 profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Opp AL
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Opp AL.
A Bit About Opp Alabama
Opp is a city in Covington County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,659. Opp is named after Henry Opp, a lawyer for the L&N railroad.
Opp is located in eastern Covington County at 31°16′59″N 86°15′17″W / 31.28306°N 86.25472°W / 31.28306; -86.25472 (31.283083, -86.254661). It is bordered by the town of Babbie to the west and the town of Horn Hill to the southwest.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.6 square miles (63.7 km2), of which 23.7 square miles (61.3 km2) is land and 0.93 square miles (2.4 km2), or 3.76%, is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,659 people and 2,655 households, and 1,823 families residing in the city. The population density was 388 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 80.9% White, 16.7% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.3% Asian, and 1.2% from two or more races. 0.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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