How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Fairhope Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Fairhope AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles 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 duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fairhope AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After 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 OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fairhope Alabama dental offices are usually 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fairhope AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fairhope Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help 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 choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fairhope AL employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Fairhope AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fairhope AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Fairhope AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fairhope AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Fairhope AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Fairhope Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course 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 many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fairhope Alabama.