How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Millbrook AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the college'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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties 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 in support of the Millbrook AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination as well as any state licensing 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 Education OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Millbrook Alabama dental practices 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 finish 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Millbrook AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Millbrook AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Millbrook AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Millbrook AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Millbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Millbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Millbrook Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.