How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Rainbow City Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Rainbow City AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the program'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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Rainbow City AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Rainbow City AL dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Rainbow City AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Rainbow City AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Rainbow City AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Rainbow City AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check 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 Rainbow City AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Rainbow City AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Rainbow City AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Rainbow City 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Rainbow City Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Rainbow City Alabama.