How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Chickasaw Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Chickasaw AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing 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 comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Chickasaw AL practice and the dentists. 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 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 can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing 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 graduate 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chickasaw 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 almost every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chickasaw AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chickasaw AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant 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 make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chickasaw AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Chickasaw AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means 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 build professional relationships in the Chickasaw AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Chickasaw AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Chickasaw AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chickasaw AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Chickasaw AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Chickasaw Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chickasaw Alabama.