How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Auburn Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Auburn AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the college'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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Auburn AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After 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 Degree Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Auburn AL dental offices 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 nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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 dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Auburn AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Auburn AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask 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 verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Auburn AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Auburn Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.