How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Trussville Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Trussville AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Trussville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can 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
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After 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 Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Trussville AL dental practices are often 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 virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Trussville AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Trussville AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select 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 colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high 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 internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Trussville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Trussville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Trussville Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.