How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene College near Meadowbrook Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Meadowbrook AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Meadowbrook AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Meadowbrook AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Meadowbrook AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Meadowbrook AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires 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 Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Meadowbrook AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way 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 develop professional relationships in the Meadowbrook AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Meadowbrook AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Meadowbrook AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense 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 factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered 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 offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Meadowbrook AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Meadowbrook Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Meadowbrook Alabama.