How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Course Near Trussville Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Trussville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Trussville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Trussville Alabama dental practices are often 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 almost 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Trussville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Trussville AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any 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 imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Trussville AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer 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 provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Trussville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Trussville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Trussville Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, 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 receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.