How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Glencoe Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Glencoe AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Glencoe AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glencoe AL dental practices are often 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 vocational 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Glencoe AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best 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 schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glencoe AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Glencoe AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement 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 profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Glencoe AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Glencoe AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Glencoe AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Glencoe Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glencoe Alabama.