How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Princeton Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Princeton AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the college'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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Princeton AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When 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 Education Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Princeton AL dental offices are normally 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 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Princeton AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Princeton AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. 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. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good 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 Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Princeton AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Princeton AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Princeton AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Princeton AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Princeton AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Princeton AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Princeton AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Princeton Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination 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 fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training 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 normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend 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 right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Princeton Alabama.