How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Auburn Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Auburn AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program'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. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Auburn AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first 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 perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Auburn Alabama dental offices are generally 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 virtually 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Auburn 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 charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Auburn AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Auburn AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Auburn Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist program 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 a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly 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 programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.