How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College near Pell City Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Pell City AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing 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 assists the Pell City AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Pell City AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Pell City AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pell City AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pell City AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Pell City AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 form professional relationships in the Pell City AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pell City AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Pell City AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Pell City AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Pell City 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Pell City Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pell City Alabama.