How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Foley Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Foley AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Foley AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Foley Alabama dental offices 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 complete 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Foley AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Foley AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive 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 create professional relationships in the Foley AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Foley AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Foley AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Foley AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Foley AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Foley Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing 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 Foley Alabama.