How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Eufaula Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Eufaula AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college'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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged 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 analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Eufaula AL practice and the dentists. 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 teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eufaula AL dental practices are often 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 almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Eufaula AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eufaula AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Eufaula AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real 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 Eufaula AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Eufaula AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Eufaula AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Eufaula AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Eufaula AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Eufaula Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire 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 normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eufaula Alabama.