How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Princeton Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Princeton AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Princeton AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 practices 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 almost 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Princeton AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Princeton AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Princeton AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient 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, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Princeton AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Princeton AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Princeton AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Princeton AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Princeton AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Princeton Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Princeton Alabama.