How to Choose a Dental Hygienist School near Prattville Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Prattville AL is an important first step toward beginning 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 choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should 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 provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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 supporting the Prattville AL practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Prattville AL dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Prattville AL area community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Prattville AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program 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 desktop computer in the comfort of your Prattville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Prattville AL area colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Prattville AL frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alabama programs.
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 offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Prattville AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Prattville AL program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Prattville 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Prattville AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alabama programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Prattville AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near your Prattville AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's helpful to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask Dental Hygiene prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should organize a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Prattville AL
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Prattville AL.
A Bit About Prattville Alabama
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
Prattville contains several sites on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Daniel Pratt Historic District, Bell House and Buena Vista.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
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