How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Meadowbrook Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Meadowbrook AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Meadowbrook AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal 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 findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Meadowbrook AL dental offices are normally 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion 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 tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Meadowbrook AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives 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 arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Meadowbrook AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Meadowbrook AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional 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 Meadowbrook AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Meadowbrook AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Meadowbrook AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Meadowbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting 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 receiving your education and must attend classes near Meadowbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Meadowbrook Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend 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 available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Meadowbrook Alabama.