How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist School near Lanett Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college 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 far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the school'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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Lanett AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lanett AL dental practices are normally 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 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Lanett AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical 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 proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Issues 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 covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lanett AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lanett AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lanett AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Lanett AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lanett AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Lanett AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Lanett Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lanett Alabama.