How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Pike Road Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Pike Road AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including 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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Pike Road AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Pike Road AL dental offices are usually 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 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Pike Road AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With 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 covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools 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 ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pike Road AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Pike Road AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method 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 build professional relationships in the Pike Road AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pike Road AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Pike Road AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Pike Road AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Pike Road AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Pike Road Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. 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 presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pike Road Alabama.