How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Brewton Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Brewton AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Brewton AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Brewton AL dental offices are generally 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 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Brewton AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Brewton 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 location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brewton AL dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Brewton AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Brewton AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Brewton AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Brewton AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Brewton AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Brewton Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative 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 several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining 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 best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Brewton Alabama.