How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Demopolis Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Demopolis AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Demopolis AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Demopolis AL dental practices are often 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 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Demopolis AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Demopolis AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. 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 ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Demopolis AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Demopolis AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Demopolis AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Demopolis AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Demopolis AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask 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 confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Demopolis AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Demopolis Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend 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 offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Demopolis Alabama.