How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Program near East Florence Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near East Florence AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program's reputation and accreditation. 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. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists 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 typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in East Florence 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest 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 working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced 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 necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in East Florence AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation 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 enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. East Florence AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the East Florence AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of 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 instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the East Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near East Florence AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best East Florence Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period 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 programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.