How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Auburn Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Auburn AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze 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 college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Auburn AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Auburn AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. 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 necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program 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. Auburn AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 Auburn AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning 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 sit in on a few classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Auburn AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Auburn Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.