How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Millbrook AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the school'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Millbrook AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one 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 report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 working in Millbrook Alabama dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible 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 programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College 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 virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Millbrook AL employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Millbrook AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain 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 build professional relationships in the Millbrook AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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 employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools 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 enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Millbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have 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 emergencies.
Choose the Right Millbrook Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning 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 ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.