How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Clanton Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Clanton AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college'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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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 assists the Clanton AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Clanton AL dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Clanton AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Clanton AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Clanton 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, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools 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 provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Clanton AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Clanton AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Clanton AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Clanton AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Clanton AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Clanton Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Clanton Alabama.