How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Boaz Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Boaz AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the college'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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Boaz AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Boaz AL dental offices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Boaz AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Boaz AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Boaz AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Boaz AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Boaz AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Boaz AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Boaz AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Boaz AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Boaz AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Boaz Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly 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 programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Boaz Alabama.