How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Pleasant Grove AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Pleasant Grove AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Pleasant Grove AL dental offices are usually required to hold 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Pleasant Grove AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pleasant Grove AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pleasant Grove AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Pleasant Grove AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain 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 Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pleasant Grove AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Pleasant Grove AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Pleasant Grove AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Pleasant Grove AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Pleasant Grove Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you wish 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 available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pleasant Grove Alabama.