How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Spanish Fort Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Spanish Fort AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the school'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Spanish Fort 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 first 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 may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Spanish Fort 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Spanish Fort AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Spanish Fort AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Spanish Fort AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Spanish Fort AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Spanish Fort AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Spanish Fort AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Spanish Fort AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Spanish Fort AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Spanish Fort Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect 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 Spanish Fort Alabama.