How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College near Brook Highland Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Brook Highland AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess 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 college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Brook Highland AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Brook Highland AL dental offices are often 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 complete 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for receiving 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 balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Brook Highland AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Brook Highland AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach 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 ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brook Highland AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Brook Highland AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Brook Highland AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Brook Highland AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Brook Highland AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Brook Highland AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Brook Highland Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Brook Highland Alabama.