How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Monroeville Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Monroeville AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. 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 review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Monroeville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Monroeville AL dental offices are often 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Monroeville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Monroeville AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Monroeville AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Monroeville AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Monroeville AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms 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 offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Monroeville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Monroeville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Monroeville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required 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.
Choose the Best Monroeville Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Monroeville Alabama.