How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist College near Oxford Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Oxford AL is an essential first step toward starting 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 picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Oxford AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- 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 nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Oxford AL dental offices are often 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Oxford AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Oxford AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make 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 best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Oxford AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient 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, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Oxford AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means 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 create professional relationships in the Oxford AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Oxford AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Oxford AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Oxford AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Oxford AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have 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 work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Oxford Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course 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 many options offered to receive 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oxford Alabama.