How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Moody Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Moody AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Moody AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Moody AL dental offices are normally required to have 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 nearly 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Moody AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Moody AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Moody AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Moody AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get 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 establish professional relationships in the Moody AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Moody AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Moody AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Moody AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Moody AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Moody Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire 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 normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Moody Alabama.