How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Foley Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Foley AL is an essential 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 choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college'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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties 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 Foley AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Depending 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
In order to be licensed in nearly 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Foley AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for obtaining 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 provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Foley AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in 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 covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, 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. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Foley AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method 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 create professional relationships in the Foley AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Foley AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Foley AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants 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 offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Foley AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Foley Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama.