How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist School near Tarrant Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Tarrant AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the school'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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Tarrant AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed 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
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Tarrant AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Tarrant AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tarrant AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Tarrant AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately 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 Tarrant AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, practical 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Tarrant AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Tarrant AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Tarrant 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 accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Tarrant AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Tarrant Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose 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 in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tarrant Alabama.