How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist School near Clanton Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Clanton AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the program'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Clanton 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 initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After 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 Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Clanton AL dental practices are generally required to hold 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a great option for receiving 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 remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Clanton AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Clanton AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Clanton AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Clanton AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get 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 develop professional relationships in the Clanton AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing 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 Clanton AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Clanton AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience 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 fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Clanton AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Clanton AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Clanton Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Clanton Alabama.