How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Daphne Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Daphne AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the program'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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role 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 Daphne AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Daphne Alabama dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Daphne AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. 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 receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Daphne AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like 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 Daphne AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical 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 establish professional relationships in the Daphne AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Daphne AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Daphne AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Daphne AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Daphne Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.