How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Talladega Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Talladega AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance 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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Talladega AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Talladega Alabama dental offices are usually 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 complete 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Talladega AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Talladega Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Talladega AL employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Talladega AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Talladega AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Talladega AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Talladega AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Talladega AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Talladega Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Talladega Alabama.