How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Pleasant Grove AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Pleasant Grove AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Pleasant Grove AL dental offices are generally 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 nearly every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely 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 convenience of your Pleasant Grove AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pleasant Grove AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pleasant Grove AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide 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 ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Pleasant Grove AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pleasant Grove AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Pleasant Grove AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Pleasant Grove AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Pleasant Grove AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Pleasant Grove Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required 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 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 schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pleasant Grove Alabama.