How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College near Foley Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Foley AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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 on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Foley AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Foley AL dental offices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Foley AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community 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 style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Foley AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Foley AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Foley AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Foley AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Foley AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Foley AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Foley Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama.