How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Lanett Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Lanett AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 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 each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lanett AL dental offices are generally required to hold 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 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Lanett AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office 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 discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college 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 programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select 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 Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lanett AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lanett AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective 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 establish professional relationships in the Lanett AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lanett AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Lanett AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lanett AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Lanett AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Lanett Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is important 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 several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lanett Alabama.