How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Hueytown Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Hueytown AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the school'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties 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 in support of the Hueytown AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Hueytown Alabama dental offices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hueytown AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hueytown AL employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Hueytown AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Hueytown AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Hueytown AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Hueytown AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Hueytown AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Hueytown AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Hueytown Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama.