How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Course Near Florence Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Florence AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. 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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Florence AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one 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 carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Florence Alabama dental practices are normally 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Florence AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Florence Alabama, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Florence AL employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient 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 choose offers clinical rotation in a local Florence AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Florence AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Florence AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Florence AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Florence Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Florence Alabama.