How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Selma Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Selma AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Selma AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Selma Alabama dental offices are generally required to hold 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for obtaining 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 available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Selma AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Selma Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing 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 final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Selma AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools 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. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Selma AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges 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 Selma AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Selma AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Selma AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Selma AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Selma Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Selma Alabama.