How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene College near Anniston Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Anniston AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled 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
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Anniston AL dental practices are generally 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 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. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Anniston AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anniston AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal 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 professional relationships in the Anniston AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Anniston AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Anniston Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend 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 by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.