How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Andalusia Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Andalusia AL is an important first step toward beginning 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 completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties 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 Andalusia AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal 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 every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Andalusia AL dental offices are often 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 virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, 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 Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Andalusia AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Andalusia AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Andalusia AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Andalusia AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Andalusia AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Andalusia AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Andalusia AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, 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 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Andalusia AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Andalusia AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Andalusia Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course 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 numerous options offered to acquire your training 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing 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 provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Andalusia Alabama.