How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Mountain Brook AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Mountain Brook AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Mountain Brook Alabama dental offices are generally 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Mountain Brook AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option 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 procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Mountain Brook AL employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Mountain Brook AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Mountain Brook AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Mountain Brook AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Mountain Brook AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Mountain Brook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, 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 have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Mountain Brook Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mountain Brook Alabama.