How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Sylacauga Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Sylacauga AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the program'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Sylacauga AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Sylacauga 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 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Sylacauga AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area 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 method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Sylacauga AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at 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 ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Sylacauga AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers enough 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 enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Sylacauga AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Sylacauga AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Sylacauga AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Sylacauga AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Sylacauga AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Sylacauga Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial 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 numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two 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 elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Sylacauga Alabama.