How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Robertsdale Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Robertsdale AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college'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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Robertsdale AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Robertsdale AL dental practices are generally required to hold 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 almost 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Robertsdale AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Robertsdale AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Robertsdale AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Robertsdale AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical 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 professional relationships in the Robertsdale AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Robertsdale AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Robertsdale AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, 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 school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Robertsdale AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Robertsdale Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire 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 usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Robertsdale Alabama.