How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Daphne Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Daphne AL is an essential first step toward launching 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 completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college'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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Daphne AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Daphne 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 complete 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Daphne AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed 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 mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college 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 licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Daphne AL employers frequently 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 provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Daphne AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain 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 develop professional relationships in the Daphne AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering 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 Daphne AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Daphne AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Daphne AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Daphne Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential 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 many options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.