How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Harvest Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Harvest AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Harvest AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Harvest AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Harvest AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Harvest AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Harvest AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Harvest AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Harvest AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Harvest AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Harvest AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Harvest AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Harvest AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Harvest Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your education 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 schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Harvest Alabama.