How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Millbrook AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Millbrook AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Millbrook Alabama dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance 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 working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Topics 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 start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should 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 ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending 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 college 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. Millbrook AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like 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 Millbrook AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Millbrook AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Millbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Millbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Millbrook Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered 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 programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.