How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Anniston Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Anniston AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, 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 expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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 supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Anniston Alabama dental offices are normally 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 nearly 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 Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school 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 remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 covered at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anniston AL employers typically 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 provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Anniston AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented 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.