How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Moody Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Moody AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the school'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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Moody AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Moody AL dental offices are normally 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 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Moody AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Moody AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Moody AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Moody AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Moody AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Moody AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Moody AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Moody AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Moody AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Moody Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing 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 Moody Alabama.