How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Greenville Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Greenville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance 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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Greenville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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. After 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 Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Greenville AL dental practices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Greenville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal 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 process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Greenville AL dental practices often 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 available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Greenville AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive 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 create professional relationships in the Greenville AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Greenville AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Greenville AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Greenville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Greenville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Greenville Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Greenville Alabama.