How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Gardendale Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Gardendale AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Gardendale AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal 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 teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about 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 licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Gardendale AL dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Gardendale AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online 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 Gardendale AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential 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 points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Gardendale AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical 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 want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Gardendale AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gardendale AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Gardendale AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gardendale AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Gardendale AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Gardendale Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your training 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gardendale Alabama.