How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Tuskegee Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Tuskegee AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Tuskegee AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Tuskegee AL dental practices are normally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Tuskegee AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tuskegee AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few 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 furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tuskegee AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Tuskegee AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain 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 Tuskegee AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools 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 Tuskegee AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Tuskegee AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Tuskegee AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Tuskegee AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Tuskegee Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tuskegee Alabama.