How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Enterprise Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Enterprise AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as 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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Enterprise AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Enterprise AL dental practices are usually 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 vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Enterprise AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Enterprise AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Enterprise AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Enterprise AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical 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 establish professional relationships in the Enterprise AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Enterprise AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Enterprise AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Enterprise AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Enterprise AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Enterprise Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period 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 schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Enterprise Alabama.