How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene College near Jasper Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Jasper AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as 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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Jasper AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Jasper AL dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Jasper AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With 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 discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jasper AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Jasper AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher 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 Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Jasper AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Jasper AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to 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 protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Jasper Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Jasper Alabama.