How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Daphne Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Daphne AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Daphne AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Daphne AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online 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 remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Daphne AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daphne AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Daphne AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Daphne AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal 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 form professional relationships in the Daphne AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering 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 profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few 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 teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Daphne 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 protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Daphne Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course 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 options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.