How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist College near Chickasaw Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Chickasaw AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the college'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Chickasaw AL dentists and the practice. 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 teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. 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 Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Chickasaw AL dental practices are often required to have 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 virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chickasaw AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best 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 begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Chickasaw AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Chickasaw AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain 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 Chickasaw AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at 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 Chickasaw AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Chickasaw AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Chickasaw AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Chickasaw AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chickasaw Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chickasaw Alabama.