How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist College near Pell City Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Pell City AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the program'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role 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 Pell City AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 practices are often 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 almost 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Pell City AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pell City AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pell City AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Pell City AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Pell City AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Pell City AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Pell City AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Pell City AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Pell City AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Pell City Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period 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 schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pell City Alabama.