How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Albertville Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Albertville AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Albertville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Albertville AL dental practices 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Albertville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Albertville AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at 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 ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Albertville AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Albertville AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing 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 Albertville AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Albertville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length 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 come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Albertville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Albertville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Albertville Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Albertville Alabama.