How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Anniston Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the school'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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role 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 Anniston AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Anniston Alabama dental practices are generally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 Anniston AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course 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 offered to acquire 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.