How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near East Florence Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near East Florence AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school'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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the East Florence AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in East Florence Alabama dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component 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 college may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your East Florence AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. East Florence AL employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 East Florence AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the East Florence AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the East Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near East Florence AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right East Florence Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.