How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Greenville Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Greenville AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting 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 assists the Greenville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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. 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 Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Greenville AL dental offices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Greenville AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Greenville AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Greenville AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Greenville AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 form professional relationships in the Greenville AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Greenville AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Greenville AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Greenville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Greenville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Greenville Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Greenville Alabama.