How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near Daphne Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Daphne AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Daphne AL practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- 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 licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Daphne AL dental practice and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alabama dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 programs are offered at Daphne AL area junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Daphne 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 also. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Daphne AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alabama schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Daphne AL area programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Daphne AL often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alabama colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Alabama college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Daphne AL dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Daphne AL college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Daphne AL dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Daphne AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alabama schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Daphne AL.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Daphne AL home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What drove you to decide on Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Daphne AL
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne AL.
A Bit About Daphne Alabama
Daphne (/ˈdæfniː/) is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on the eastern shoreline of Mobile Bay. The city is located along I-10, 11 miles east of Mobile and 170 miles southwest of the state capital of Montgomery. The 2010 United States Census lists the population of the city as 21,570, making Daphne the most populous city in Baldwin County. It is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley metropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
The inhabited history of what is now called Daphne dates at least to the Paleo-Indian period and Native American tribes around 9000 BC. Modern-day Daphne is a thriving suburb of nearby Mobile. Daphne has adopted the nickname ″The Jubilee City″ in recognition of its status as one of the locations of the Mobile Bay jubilee. The only other place jubilees occur is in Tokyo Bay.
Daphne and the surrounding regions have been populated since from at least 9,000 BCE. European settlers eventually displaced the Native Americans. After a variety of wars and treaties the area became part of the United States in 1814. Except for a period under the flag of the Confederate States of America, Daphne and its environs have remained part of the United States until this time. From Native American, to the Spanish, French and British, the city has seen a lengthy parade of historic influences which gives Daphne its present character.
Early settlers to the region were hunter-gatherer tribes similar to those in North Alabama. A variety of Native American populations visited the area that would become Daphne including Tensaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole. This area came to be known as neutral ground where tribes would meet and discuss the relationships between their nations. Small groups worked together to acquire food and to provide for their families. Initially, these groups enjoyed an economy based upon hunting and scavenging but as time passed production of weapons and pottery became more advanced. During the late Woodland stage Native Americans began to practice more elaborate ritual services. Although no burial grounds are known in Daphne, they are scattered throughout nearby Baldwin County.
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