How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene College near Lincoln Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Lincoln AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze 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 program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Lincoln AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Lincoln AL dental practices are often 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lincoln AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical 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 obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lincoln AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lincoln AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Lincoln AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Lincoln AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the programs 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 Lincoln AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Lincoln AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lincoln AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Lincoln AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Lincoln Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend 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 obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lincoln Alabama.