How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist School near Talladega Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Talladega AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Talladega AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform 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
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When 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 Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Talladega AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 vocational 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Talladega AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Talladega AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Talladega AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Talladega AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means 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 create professional relationships in the Talladega AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Talladega AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Talladega AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Talladega AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Talladega AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Talladega Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Talladega Alabama.