How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Mobile Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Mobile AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the school'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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Mobile AL dental practices are often 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Mobile AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school 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 procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Mobile AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college 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 internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance 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 in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Mobile AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Mobile AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving 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 need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Mobile Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mobile Alabama.