How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene College near Theodore Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Theodore AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job 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 supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 exams. After 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 Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Theodore AL dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Theodore AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Theodore AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Theodore AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Theodore AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get 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 create professional relationships in the Theodore AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Theodore AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Theodore AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Theodore AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Theodore AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 emergencies.
Choose the Best Theodore Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Theodore Alabama.