How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Atmore Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Atmore AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing 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, including 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Atmore AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After 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 Degree Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Atmore AL dental practices are normally 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 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Atmore AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical 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 proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Atmore AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Atmore AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose offers enough 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, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Atmore AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain 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 develop professional relationships in the Atmore AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Atmore AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Atmore AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Atmore AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting 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 will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Atmore AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Atmore Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Atmore Alabama.