How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist College near Rainsville Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Rainsville AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role 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 Rainsville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Rainsville AL dental practices are often 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion 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 continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Rainsville AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Rainsville AL dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers 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 are interested 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 treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Rainsville AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, 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 instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. 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 colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Rainsville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Rainsville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Rainsville Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is imperative 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 several alternatives offered to receive your education 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 typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Rainsville Alabama.