How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene School near Anniston Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Anniston AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the program'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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 supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first 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 carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 exams. 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 Education Options
Because of 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice 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 dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anniston AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select 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 programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Anniston AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent 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 private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes 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 have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative 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 many options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.