How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Mobile Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Mobile AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing 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 Mobile AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting 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 area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Mobile AL dental offices are usually 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Mobile AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mobile AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school 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. Mobile AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Mobile AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools 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 Mobile AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Mobile AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Mobile AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, 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 receiving your education and have to attend classes near Mobile AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Mobile Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain 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 normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mobile Alabama.