How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Alabaster AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Alabaster AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Alabaster AL dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Alabaster AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community 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 discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Alabaster AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Alabaster AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select provides 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Alabaster AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Alabaster AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Alabaster AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Alabaster AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Alabaster AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Alabaster Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 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 you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Alabaster Alabama.