How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Chickasaw Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Chickasaw AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Chickasaw AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chickasaw AL dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Chickasaw AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed 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 school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chickasaw AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Chickasaw AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Chickasaw AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical 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 create professional relationships in the Chickasaw AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chickasaw AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Chickasaw AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Chickasaw AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Chickasaw AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required 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 Right Chickasaw Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial 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 alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chickasaw Alabama.