How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Anniston Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. 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 frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Anniston AL dental practices are often 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 virtually 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for obtaining 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 rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best 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 start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select 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 Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested 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 treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools 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 profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available 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 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 program, you will still need 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.