How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Satsuma Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Satsuma AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Satsuma AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Satsuma AL dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Satsuma AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Satsuma AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Satsuma AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers enough 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, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Satsuma AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real 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 Satsuma AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Satsuma AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Satsuma AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Satsuma AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Satsuma AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Satsuma Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Satsuma Alabama.