How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene College near Demopolis Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Demopolis AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting 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 Demopolis AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed 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
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Demopolis AL dental offices are normally required to have 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 virtually 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Demopolis AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Demopolis AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Demopolis AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Demopolis AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get 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 establish professional relationships in the Demopolis AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Demopolis AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Demopolis AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Demopolis AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Demopolis AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Demopolis Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Demopolis Alabama.