How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Albertville Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Albertville AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Albertville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Albertville AL dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Albertville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Albertville AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college 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 certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Albertville AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Albertville AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real 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 Albertville AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Albertville AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Albertville AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Albertville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Albertville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Albertville Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Albertville Alabama.