How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Jasper Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Jasper AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Jasper AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Jasper AL dental practices are normally required to hold 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 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. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available 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 going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies 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 needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Jasper AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at 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 ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Jasper AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Jasper AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Jasper AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few 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 Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Jasper AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Jasper AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Jasper Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Jasper Alabama.