How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Lanett Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Lanett AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Lanett AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Lanett AL dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Lanett AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lanett AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lanett AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lanett AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lanett AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Lanett AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask 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 college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Lanett AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Lanett Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lanett Alabama.