How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Albertville Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Albertville AL is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Albertville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Albertville Alabama dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind 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 accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Albertville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Albertville Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate 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 select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Albertville AL employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Albertville AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method 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 build professional relationships in the Albertville AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Albertville AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Albertville AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount 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 clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Albertville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Albertville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 issues.
Choose the Best Albertville Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend 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 options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Albertville Alabama.