How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Smiths Station Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Smiths Station AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the college'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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties 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 Smiths Station AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Smiths Station AL dental practices are normally 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Smiths Station AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Smiths Station AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Smiths Station AL dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Smiths Station AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive 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 professional relationships in the Smiths Station AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Smiths Station AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Smiths Station AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Smiths Station AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Smiths Station AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Smiths Station Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter 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 asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Smiths Station Alabama.