How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist School near Anniston Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the school'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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of 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 initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Anniston AL dental practices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method 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 develop professional relationships in the Anniston AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Anniston AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total 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, for instance the reputations of the schools 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 colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.