How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Course Near Princeton Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Princeton AL is an essential initial 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 school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Princeton AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Princeton Alabama dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Princeton AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for 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 required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Princeton Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Princeton AL employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Princeton AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering 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 Princeton AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Princeton AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Princeton AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Princeton AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Princeton Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training 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 normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Princeton Alabama.