How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Hueytown Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Hueytown AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors 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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Hueytown AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Hueytown Alabama dental offices are generally required to have 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 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Hueytown AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hueytown AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Hueytown AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Hueytown AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Hueytown AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Hueytown AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify 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 must attend classes near Hueytown AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need 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 due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Hueytown Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available 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 schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama.