How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Trussville Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Trussville AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting 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 Trussville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Trussville AL dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Trussville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach 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 best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid 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 condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Trussville AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Trussville AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, 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 must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Trussville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Trussville Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.