How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Satsuma Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Satsuma AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Satsuma AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform 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
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. 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 Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Satsuma AL dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Satsuma AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Satsuma AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Satsuma AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Satsuma AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Satsuma AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Satsuma AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Satsuma AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Satsuma AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Satsuma AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Satsuma Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential 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 available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Satsuma Alabama.