How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Auburn Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Auburn AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Auburn AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Auburn AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Auburn AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently 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 Auburn AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Auburn AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting 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 will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Auburn AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Auburn Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend 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 alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.