How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene School near Sylacauga Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Sylacauga AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the school'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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Sylacauga AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Sylacauga AL dental offices are usually 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 nearly 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 dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Sylacauga AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Sylacauga AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many 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 condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sylacauga AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Sylacauga AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Sylacauga AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Sylacauga AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Sylacauga AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Sylacauga AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Sylacauga AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required 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 due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Sylacauga Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Sylacauga Alabama.