How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Andalusia Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Andalusia AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college'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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at 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 most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Andalusia AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying 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 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. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Andalusia AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Andalusia AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best 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 start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some 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 programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Andalusia AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Andalusia AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way 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 professional relationships in the Andalusia AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs 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 the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Andalusia AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Andalusia AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Andalusia AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Andalusia Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your education 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Andalusia Alabama.