How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Meadowbrook Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Meadowbrook AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the college'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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Meadowbrook AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once 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 additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Meadowbrook AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative 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 rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Meadowbrook AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Meadowbrook AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Meadowbrook AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Meadowbrook AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Meadowbrook AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Meadowbrook AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Meadowbrook AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Meadowbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Meadowbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 issues.
Pick the Right Meadowbrook Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing 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 better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Meadowbrook Alabama.