How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Mountain Brook AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Mountain Brook 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 initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Mountain Brook Alabama dental offices are usually required to have 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Mountain Brook AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mountain Brook Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school 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. Mountain Brook AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Mountain Brook AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive 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 form professional relationships in the Mountain Brook AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Mountain Brook AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Mountain Brook AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Mountain Brook AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Mountain Brook AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Mountain Brook Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish 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 alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mountain Brook Alabama.