How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Glencoe Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Glencoe AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 licensure exams. When 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 increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glencoe AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Glencoe AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glencoe AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Glencoe AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Glencoe AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Glencoe AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Glencoe AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Glencoe AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Glencoe AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Glencoe Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glencoe Alabama.