How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Lanett Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Lanett AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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 on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Lanett AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual 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 report their findings 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. 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
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lanett 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 technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lanett AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically 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 provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lanett AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lanett AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers enough 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, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lanett AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lanett AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Lanett AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lanett AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure 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 Lanett AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Lanett Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important 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 several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lanett Alabama.