How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Robertsdale Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Robertsdale AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Robertsdale AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can 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
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Robertsdale AL dental practices are generally 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Robertsdale AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Robertsdale AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence 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 pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Robertsdale AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Robertsdale AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way 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 Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Robertsdale AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Robertsdale AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Robertsdale AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Robertsdale AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Robertsdale Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Robertsdale Alabama.