How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College near Attalla Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Attalla 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 picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Attalla 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 area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Attalla AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Attalla AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Attalla AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should 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 assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Attalla AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Attalla AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Attalla AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Attalla 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 Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Attalla AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Attalla AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Attalla Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Attalla Alabama.