How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Chickasaw Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Chickasaw AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the program'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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Chickasaw AL dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Chickasaw AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chickasaw AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school 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 desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Chickasaw AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering 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 Chickasaw AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Chickasaw AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most 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 enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit 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 select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chickasaw Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training 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 about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chickasaw Alabama.