How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene School near Meadowbrook Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Meadowbrook AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job 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 Meadowbrook AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensing 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
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Meadowbrook AL dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Meadowbrook AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Meadowbrook AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included 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 important 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 virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Meadowbrook AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose provides adequate 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 enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Meadowbrook AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive 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 build professional relationships in the Meadowbrook AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Meadowbrook AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Meadowbrook AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Meadowbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Meadowbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Meadowbrook Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose 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 in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Meadowbrook Alabama.