How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Course Near East Florence Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near East Florence AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college'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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the East Florence AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in East Florence Alabama dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your East Florence AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical 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 get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. East Florence AL employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish 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 type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the East Florence AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the East Florence AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the East Florence AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the East Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near East Florence AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best East Florence Dental Hygienist School
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 offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.