How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Daphne Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Daphne AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Daphne AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about 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 licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Daphne AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Daphne AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daphne AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Daphne AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Daphne AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 Daphne AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs 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 Daphne AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Daphne AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Daphne AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Daphne Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative 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 numerous options offered to receive your education 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.