How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Roanoke Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Roanoke AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school'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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Roanoke AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Roanoke AL dental offices are often 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving 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 remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Roanoke AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Roanoke AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Roanoke AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Roanoke AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Roanoke AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Roanoke AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Roanoke AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Roanoke AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, 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 need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Roanoke Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Roanoke Alabama.