How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Glencoe Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Glencoe AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the program'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties 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 assists the Glencoe AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing 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 Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glencoe AL dental offices are normally 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glencoe AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glencoe AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glencoe AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Glencoe AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Glencoe AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Glencoe AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Glencoe AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Glencoe AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to 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 must go to classes near Glencoe AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Glencoe Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered 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 typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glencoe Alabama.