How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Rainsville Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Rainsville AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job 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 assists the Rainsville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting 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 each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After 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 Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Rainsville 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 almost 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Rainsville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Rainsville AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing 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 final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Rainsville AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Rainsville AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain 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 Rainsville AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering 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 Rainsville AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Rainsville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Rainsville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Rainsville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Rainsville Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Rainsville Alabama.