How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Mobile Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Mobile AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties 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 Mobile AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance 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 going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mobile AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Mobile AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Mobile AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Mobile AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Mobile AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Mobile AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Mobile AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Mobile Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared 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.