How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Anniston Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Anniston AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Anniston AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Anniston AL dental practices are usually required to hold 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 nearly 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Anniston AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anniston AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Anniston AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Anniston Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.