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Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tuscaloosa Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid 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 almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Tuscaloosa AL employers typically prefer 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 available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Tuscaloosa AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Tuscaloosa AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Tuscaloosa AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Tuscaloosa AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Tuscaloosa AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.