How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Monroeville Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Monroeville AL is an essential first step toward launching 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 choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Monroeville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform 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 regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Monroeville AL dental offices are normally required to hold 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Monroeville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Monroeville AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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. Monroeville AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Monroeville AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Monroeville AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Monroeville AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Monroeville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Monroeville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Monroeville Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist course 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 several alternatives available to obtain 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Monroeville Alabama.