How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Madison Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Madison AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Madison AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal 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 area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Madison AL dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Madison AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. 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 required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Madison AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Madison AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For 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 Madison AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 develop professional relationships in the Madison AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Madison AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Madison AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Madison AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Madison AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Madison Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to 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 choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Madison Alabama.