How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Auburn Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Auburn AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the program's reputation and accreditation. 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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Auburn AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Auburn AL dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Auburn AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final 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 school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Auburn AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 Auburn AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Auburn AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Auburn Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right 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 you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.