How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene School near Millbrook Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Millbrook AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Millbrook AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 licensing exams. After 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 Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Millbrook AL dental practices are usually required to have 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 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. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Millbrook AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Millbrook AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Millbrook AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Millbrook AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Millbrook AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 Millbrook AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Millbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Millbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Millbrook Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.