How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene College near East Florence Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near East Florence AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties 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 in support of the East Florence AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in East Florence AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your East Florence AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in East Florence AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs 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 best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, 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 prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs 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 East Florence AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the East Florence AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the East Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near East Florence AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best East Florence Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.