How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist College near Daleville Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Daleville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually 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 talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Daleville AL practice and the dentists. 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 interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Daleville AL dental practices are generally 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Daleville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daleville AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation 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 select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Daleville AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in 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, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Daleville AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Daleville AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Daleville AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 programs, 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 check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Daleville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Daleville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Daleville Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter 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 asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daleville Alabama.