How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene College near Lanett Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Lanett AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lanett AL dental practices are usually required to hold 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 nearly 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lanett AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary 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 office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lanett AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lanett AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lanett AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lanett AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Lanett AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lanett AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Lanett AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 issues.
Choose the Right Lanett Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your education 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lanett Alabama.