How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Jasper Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Jasper AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the program'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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting 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 assists the Jasper AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Jasper AL dental offices are generally required to hold 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Jasper AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Jasper AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Jasper AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Jasper AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Jasper AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Jasper AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Jasper AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Jasper AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Jasper AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Jasper Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Jasper Alabama.