How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Trussville Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Trussville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Trussville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Trussville Alabama dental practices are generally 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 nearly 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Trussville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Trussville AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical 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 subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Trussville AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Trussville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Trussville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Trussville Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.