How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Theodore Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Theodore AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Theodore AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Theodore AL dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Theodore AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Theodore AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Theodore AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Theodore AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Theodore AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Theodore AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Theodore AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Theodore AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Theodore Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish 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 offered to receive your education 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 normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Theodore Alabama.