How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene College near Talladega Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Talladega AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should 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 provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job 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 assists the Talladega AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Talladega 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a great option for getting 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 balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Talladega AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Talladega AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished 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 many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Talladega AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Talladega AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Talladega AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Talladega AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Talladega AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Talladega Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Talladega Alabama.