How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Pinson Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Pinson AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the program'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Pinson AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Pinson AL dental offices are often 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Pinson AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed 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 provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pinson AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pinson AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Pinson AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical 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 create professional relationships in the Pinson AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Pinson AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Pinson AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Pinson AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Pinson AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Pinson Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, 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 obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pinson Alabama.