How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Pike Road Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Pike Road 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 much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Pike Road AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Pike Road AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pike Road AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pike Road AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides enough 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, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Pike Road AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Pike Road AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Pike Road AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Pike Road AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Pike Road Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pike Road Alabama.