How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Gadsden Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Gadsden AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Gadsden AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Gadsden Alabama dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Gadsden AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community 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 mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gadsden Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program 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 going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Gadsden AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Gadsden AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Gadsden AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gadsden AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large 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 Gadsden AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gadsden AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Gadsden AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Gadsden Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gadsden Alabama.