How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene College near Rainsville Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Rainsville AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties 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 Rainsville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Rainsville AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can 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 rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Rainsville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Rainsville AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in 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 Examination, your dental college 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 job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Rainsville AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means 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 establish professional relationships in the Rainsville AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Rainsville AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized 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 witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Rainsville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Rainsville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Rainsville Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial 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 numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining 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 in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Rainsville Alabama.