How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Fairhope Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Fairhope AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing 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 duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fairhope AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may 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
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fairhope AL dental practices are generally required to hold 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 virtually 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Fairhope AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fairhope AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fairhope AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fairhope AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fairhope AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Fairhope AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fairhope AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Fairhope AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Fairhope Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fairhope Alabama.