How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Course Near Pelham Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Pelham AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Pelham AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Pelham Alabama dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Pelham AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pelham Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should 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 final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pelham AL employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Pelham AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Pelham AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pelham AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Pelham AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Pelham AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Pelham AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Pelham Dental Hygienist School
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pelham Alabama.