How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist School near Dixiana Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Dixiana AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Dixiana AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 in addition to passing any state licensure 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 Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Dixiana AL dental practices are usually 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 community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Dixiana AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Dixiana AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dixiana AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Dixiana AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Dixiana AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Dixiana AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Dixiana AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 programs, 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 grants, loans and scholarships in the Dixiana AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Dixiana AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dixiana Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to 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 Dixiana Alabama.