How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Rainbow City Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Rainbow City AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the school'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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Rainbow City AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Rainbow City AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Rainbow City 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 offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Rainbow City AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical 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 build professional relationships in the Rainbow City AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Rainbow City AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Rainbow City AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Rainbow City AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Rainbow City Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Rainbow City Alabama.