How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Daleville Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Daleville AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the program'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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Daleville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial 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 perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Daleville AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Daleville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
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, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, 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. Daleville AL dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Daleville AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive 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 create professional relationships in the Daleville AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Daleville AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Daleville AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Daleville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers 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 in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Daleville Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish 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 alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 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 elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daleville Alabama.