How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Columbia Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Columbia AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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 invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Columbia AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure 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 Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Columbia AL dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Columbia AL area junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Columbia AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Columbia AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Columbia AL area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Columbia AL typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the Alabama college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Columbia 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 school 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Columbia AL school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Columbia AL dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 Columbia AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Columbia AL.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Columbia 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask Dental Hygiene candidates is "What drove you to decide on Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Hygiene, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Columbia AL
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning 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 ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Columbia AL.
A Bit About Columbia Alabama
Al Columbia (born 1970) is an American cartoonist.
At the age of 18 Columbia was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz in illustrating Alan Moore's ambitious Big Numbers series. When Sienkiewicz withdrew from the series in 1990 after the release of the first two issues, Moore and his backers at Tundra Publishing asked the young Columbia to become its sole artist. In 1992, with no more issues released, Columbia himself left the project under a cloud of rumors and accusations, including claims that he had destroyed his own artwork for Big Numbers #4. Columbia declined to address the subject publicly for several years, writing in a 1998 letter to The Comics Journal that "I could easily launch into a tirade about the extensive horror of my Tundra experience, but I much prefer the very entertaining and conflicting accounts already in circulation." In later statements he confirmed that he destroyed his artwork but disputed other claims by the principal figures in the fiasco.
In a 2011 article reflecting on his Big Numbers experience, Sienkiewicz wrote that he and Columbia had long since reconciled over the matter, and that he was content to "[c]halk the feud up to the folly of youth."
Columbia's first solo comic book, Doghead, was released by Tundra Publishing in 1992. He contributed to three issues of the horror anthology From Beyonde in the early nineties, initially under the pen name "Lucien" and then under his own name. His stories "The Biologic Show" and "Tar Frogs" also appeared in the British magazine Deadline. In these works, which focused on visceral and disturbing subject matter including mutilation, incest, and the occult, he moved away from the glossy photorealism of his time with Sienkiewicz towards a scabrous but virtuosic pen-and-ink style that emphasized grotesque physiognomic details such as grinning mouths full of teeth and leering, reptilian eyes.
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