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Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Birmingham Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Birmingham AL employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Birmingham AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs 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 Birmingham AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Birmingham AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Birmingham AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Birmingham AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.