How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Eufaula Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Eufaula AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Eufaula AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled 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 additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eufaula AL dental practices are generally 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Eufaula AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eufaula AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eufaula AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Eufaula AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive 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 professional relationships in the Eufaula AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement 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 profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Eufaula AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Eufaula AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Eufaula AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Eufaula Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important 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 several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eufaula Alabama.