How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Phenix City Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Phenix City AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the school'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 complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Phenix City AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Phenix City Alabama dental practices are generally required to have 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 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Phenix City AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Phenix City AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Phenix City AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical 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 Phenix City AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Phenix City AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Phenix City AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based 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 have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Phenix City AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Phenix City AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Phenix City Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama.