How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene College near Calera Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Calera AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Calera AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Calera 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 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Calera AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Calera AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, 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 College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Calera AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Calera AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get 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 create professional relationships in the Calera AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Calera AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Calera AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs 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 Calera AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Calera AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Calera Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you want 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 alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Calera Alabama.