How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Millbrook AL is an important first step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the program'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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss 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 offered.
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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 assists the Millbrook AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsDue to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Millbrook Alabama dental practices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Millbrook AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Millbrook AL employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Millbrook AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing 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 as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Millbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Millbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Millbrook Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.