How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School near Trussville Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Trussville AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Trussville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Trussville AL dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Trussville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed 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 style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Trussville AL dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Trussville AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Trussville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Trussville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Trussville Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.