How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist College near Brewton Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Brewton AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the school'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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Brewton 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 sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Brewton AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% 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 laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask 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 students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brewton AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish 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 kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Brewton AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Brewton AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Brewton AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Brewton AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Brewton AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Brewton Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend 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 ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Brewton Alabama.