How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Forestdale Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Forestdale AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Forestdale AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Forestdale AL dental practices are often 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Forestdale AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often 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 appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Forestdale AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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. Forestdale AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices 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 want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Forestdale AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional 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 Forestdale AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Forestdale AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Forestdale AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Forestdale AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Forestdale 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Forestdale Dental Hygienist Program
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 several options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Forestdale Alabama.