How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Greenville Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Greenville AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations 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 roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Greenville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Greenville AL dental practices are normally required to have 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 nearly 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Greenville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Greenville AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Greenville AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Greenville AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Greenville AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Greenville AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Greenville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent 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 come into play. But along with 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 schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Greenville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Greenville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Greenville Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training 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 about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Greenville Alabama.