How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Moody Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Moody AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the school'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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Moody AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled 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 working in Moody AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Moody AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Moody AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best 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 certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Moody AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Moody AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Moody AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Moody AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Moody AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume 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 in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Moody AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Moody AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Moody Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Moody Alabama.