How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Pike Road Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Pike Road AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Pike Road AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Pike Road AL dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for receiving 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 Pike Road AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pike Road AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at 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 ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pike Road AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Pike Road AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need 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 higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Pike Road AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Pike Road AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Pike Road AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Pike Road AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Pike Road Dental Hygienist Training
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 you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pike Road Alabama.