How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene College near Daleville Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Daleville AL is an important initial 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 far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Daleville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically 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 also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When 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
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Daleville AL dental offices are usually 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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 Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Daleville AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes 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 completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daleville AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Daleville AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Daleville AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining 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 are likely to have good reputations within the Daleville AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Daleville AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Daleville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Daleville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Daleville Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential 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 many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daleville Alabama.