How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Moores Mill Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Moores Mill AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to 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 offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Moores Mill 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 encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Moores Mill AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Moores Mill AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Moores Mill AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, 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 ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Moores Mill AL dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Moores Mill AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical 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 build professional relationships in the Moores Mill AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Moores Mill AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Moores Mill AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Moores Mill AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Moores Mill AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Moores Mill Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your training 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Moores Mill Alabama.