How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Hoover Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Hoover AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing 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 important issues to take into account also, including 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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Hoover AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Hoover Alabama dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect 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 might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Hoover AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Hoover Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hoover AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Hoover AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective 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 create professional relationships in the Hoover AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining 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 Hoover AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Hoover AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Hoover AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Hoover AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Hoover Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining 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 in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hoover Alabama.