How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Glencoe Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Glencoe AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the college'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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting 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 Glencoe AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glencoe AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glencoe AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glencoe AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose 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 Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Glencoe AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Glencoe AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Glencoe AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Glencoe AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending 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 in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Glencoe AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Glencoe AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Glencoe Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glencoe Alabama.