How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Brewton Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Brewton AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the school'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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. 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 an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once 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 Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Brewton 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 finish 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing 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 clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Brewton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Brewton AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brewton AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like 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 Brewton AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method 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 build professional relationships in the Brewton AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Brewton AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Brewton AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Brewton AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Brewton AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Brewton Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial 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 numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to 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 ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Brewton Alabama.