How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Daleville Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Daleville AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should 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 offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Daleville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Daleville AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Daleville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical 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 get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daleville AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Daleville AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select 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, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Daleville AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical 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 create professional relationships in the Daleville AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Daleville AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Daleville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Daleville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Daleville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Daleville Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education 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 programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 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 in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daleville Alabama.