How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene College near Chelsea Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Chelsea AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job 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 Chelsea AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting 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 teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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. When they have fulfilled 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
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chelsea AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Chelsea AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chelsea AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to 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 final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chelsea AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Chelsea AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form 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 colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 Chelsea AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Chelsea AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Chelsea AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Chelsea AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Chelsea Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting 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 you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education 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 normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chelsea Alabama.