How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene College near Tuskegee Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Tuskegee AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. 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. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Tuskegee AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled 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
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Tuskegee 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Tuskegee AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tuskegee 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 location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tuskegee AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers enough 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Tuskegee AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 Tuskegee AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Tuskegee AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs 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 add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Tuskegee AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Tuskegee AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Tuskegee Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in 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 several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tuskegee Alabama.