How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Meridianville Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Meridianville AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Meridianville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure 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
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Meridianville 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program 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 personal computer in the comfort of your Meridianville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting 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 receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Meridianville AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Meridianville AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Meridianville AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, practical 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Meridianville AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Meridianville AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Meridianville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Meridianville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Meridianville Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Meridianville Alabama.