How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene School near Attalla Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Attalla AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account 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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role 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 Attalla AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed 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
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Attalla AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely 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 convenience of your Attalla AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Attalla AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Attalla AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Attalla AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive 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 develop professional relationships in the Attalla AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Attalla AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Attalla AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Attalla AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Attalla AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Attalla Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Attalla Alabama.