How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College 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 before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Brewton AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After 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 Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Brewton AL dental offices are often required to have 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Brewton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office 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 dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Brewton AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at 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 ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brewton AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Brewton AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain 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 Brewton AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Brewton AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Brewton AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Brewton AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring 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 issues.
Choose the Right Brewton Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 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 decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Brewton Alabama.