How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Auburn Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Auburn AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles 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 assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Auburn AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Auburn Alabama dental practices are often required to have 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 trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Auburn AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though 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. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Auburn AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means 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 establish professional relationships in the Auburn AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Auburn AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Auburn Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is important 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 numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing 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 Auburn Alabama.