How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Rainsville Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Rainsville AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the program'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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of 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 frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Rainsville AL dental offices are generally 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 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Rainsville AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid 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 nearly 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Rainsville AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Rainsville AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Rainsville AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher 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 employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Rainsville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance 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 substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Rainsville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Rainsville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 issues.
Choose the Best Rainsville Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Rainsville Alabama.