How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene School near Calera Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Calera AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Calera AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Calera AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Calera AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Calera AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Calera AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Calera AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Calera AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Calera AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Calera AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Calera AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Calera Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Calera Alabama.