How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Brewton Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Brewton AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Brewton AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once 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
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Brewton AL dental practices 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 nearly 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Brewton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Brewton AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 program 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 typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently 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 practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best 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 develop professional relationships in the Brewton AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Brewton AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Brewton AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance 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 selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Brewton AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Brewton Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Brewton Alabama.