How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Boaz Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Boaz AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive 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 reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Boaz AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal 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 every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Boaz AL dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Boaz AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice 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 style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
What 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 schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program 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 nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Boaz AL dental practices often 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 obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Boaz AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Boaz AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Boaz AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Boaz AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Boaz AL in the evenings 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 practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Boaz Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Boaz Alabama.