How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene College near Hueytown Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Hueytown AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as 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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing 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 comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Hueytown AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled 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 added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Hueytown AL dental offices are normally 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Hueytown AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Hueytown AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program 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 intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hueytown AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Hueytown AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Hueytown AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Hueytown AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 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 programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Hueytown AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Hueytown AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Hueytown Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right 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 you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama.