How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Jacksonville Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Jacksonville AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the school'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Jacksonville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Jacksonville AL dental practices are generally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Jacksonville AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Jacksonville AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing 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 ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jacksonville AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Jacksonville AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Jacksonville AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Jacksonville AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based 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 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 programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Jacksonville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Jacksonville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Jacksonville Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Jacksonville Alabama.