How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene College near Chelsea Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Chelsea AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Chelsea AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Chelsea AL dental offices are generally 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Chelsea AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. 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 practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
What 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 discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at 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 best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chelsea AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently 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 specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective 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 establish professional relationships in the Chelsea AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chelsea AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Chelsea AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness 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 differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Chelsea AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Chelsea AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chelsea Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education 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 generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chelsea Alabama.