How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Forestdale Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Forestdale AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Forestdale AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Forestdale AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Forestdale AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Forestdale AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school 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 often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Forestdale AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal 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 build professional relationships in the Forestdale AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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 Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Forestdale AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume 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 besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Forestdale AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to 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 policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Forestdale Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively 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 schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Forestdale Alabama.