How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near East Florence Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near East Florence AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the East Florence AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in East Florence AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your East Florence AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in East Florence AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. East Florence AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the East Florence AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the East Florence AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the East Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near East Florence AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best East Florence Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.