How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Tuskegee Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Tuskegee AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the college'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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Tuskegee AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently 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 also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Tuskegee AL dental practices are generally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Tuskegee AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office 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 discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tuskegee AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search 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 address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tuskegee 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 offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Tuskegee AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Tuskegee AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Tuskegee AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Tuskegee AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, 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 substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, 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 furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Tuskegee AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Tuskegee Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tuskegee Alabama.