How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Anniston Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Anniston AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training 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 college's reputation and accreditation. 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 expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties 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 assists the Anniston AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Anniston Alabama dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Anniston AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
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 opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Anniston AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important 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 numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.