How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Program near Bay Minette Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Bay Minette AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete 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 prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Bay Minette AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual 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 findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Bay Minette AL dental office and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Bay Minette AL area junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Bay Minette AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bay Minette AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office 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 attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Bay Minette AL area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Bay Minette AL typically 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 obtainable for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alabama college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Bay Minette AL dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Bay Minette AL program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Bay Minette 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bay Minette AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alabama schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Bay Minette AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near your Bay Minette AL home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask Dental Hygiene applicants is "What made you choose Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should ready a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the ideal choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Hygienist College near Bay Minette AL
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bay Minette AL.
A Bit About Bay Minette Alabama
Bay Minette, Alabama
Bay Minette is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,044. The city is the county seat of Baldwin County.
In the first days of Baldwin County, the town of McIntosh Bluff (now in Mobile County, west of Baldwin County) on the Tombigbee River was the county seat. After being transferred to the town of Blakeley in 1810, the county seat was later moved to the city of Daphne in 1868. In 1900, by an act of the legislature of Alabama, the county seat was authorized for relocation to the city of Bay Minette; however, the city of Daphne resisted relocation. The citizens of Bay Minette moved the county records from Daphne in the middle of the night on October 11–12, 1901 and delivered them to the city of Bay Minette - where the Baldwin County seat remains to this day. A mural for the new post office built in 1937 was commissioned by the WPA and painted by Hilton Leech of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to commemorate this event.
In September 2011, the town attempted to enact a program called "Operation Restore Our Community". It would have allowed those convicted of a misdemeanor to substitute imprisonment with mandatory church attendance for one year. However, this program was challenged due to violating separation of church and state, and the program's start was delayed for judicial review. It appears to have been scrapped.
Bay Minette is located near the center of Baldwin County in southern Alabama at 30°53′0″N 87°46′38″W / 30.88333°N 87.77722°W / 30.88333; -87.77722 (30.883446, -87.777183). It is sited on high ground 5 miles (8 km) east of the Mobile River/Tensaw River valley and 6 miles (10 km) west of the Florida border formed by the Perdido River. U.S. Route 31 passes through the center of the city, leading south to Spanish Fort and northeast to Atmore. Interstate 65 passes about 5 miles (8 km) north of the city, with access from exit 34 (State Route 59) and exit 37 (State Route 287).
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