How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist School Near Dothan Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Dothan AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role 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 in support of the Dothan AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Dothan Alabama dental offices are usually required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Dothan AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dothan AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Dothan AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Dothan AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Dothan AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to 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 dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Dothan AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Dothan AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Dothan Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama.