How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Eufaula Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Eufaula AL is an important first 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 much more to performing 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 significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the school'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive 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 looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Eufaula AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eufaula AL dental practices are normally required to have 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 nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Eufaula AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eufaula AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many 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 requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Eufaula AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Eufaula AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Eufaula AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Eufaula AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Eufaula AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Eufaula AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Eufaula Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing 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 in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eufaula Alabama.