How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Midfield Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Midfield AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
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 assists the Midfield AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth 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 plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Midfield AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember 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 accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Midfield AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Midfield AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Midfield AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Midfield AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Midfield AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Midfield AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Midfield AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Midfield AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Midfield Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two 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 decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Midfield Alabama.