How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Talladega Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Talladega AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the program'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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Talladega AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Talladega AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Talladega AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Talladega AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to make 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 right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, 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 guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Talladega AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Talladega AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 Talladega AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Talladega AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example 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 substantial 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Talladega AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Talladega AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Talladega Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Talladega Alabama.