How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College near Princeton Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Princeton AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Princeton AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Princeton AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Princeton AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Princeton AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college 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. Princeton AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Princeton AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Princeton AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Princeton AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Princeton AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Princeton AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need 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 Best Princeton Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Princeton Alabama.