How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Andalusia Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Andalusia AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists 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 initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can 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
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Andalusia AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Andalusia AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Andalusia AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several 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 almost 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Andalusia AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of 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 enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Andalusia AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Andalusia AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Andalusia AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Andalusia AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Andalusia AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Andalusia AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Andalusia Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Andalusia Alabama.