How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Monroeville Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Monroeville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the program'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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting 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 in support of the Monroeville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Monroeville AL dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for receiving 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Monroeville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
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 beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program 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 frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Monroeville AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Monroeville AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide 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 witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Monroeville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit 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 choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Monroeville Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect 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 better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Monroeville Alabama.