How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Russellville Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Russellville AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Russellville AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Russellville 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 finish 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Russellville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Russellville AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Russellville AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides 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, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Russellville AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Russellville AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Russellville AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Russellville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Russellville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Russellville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Russellville Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Russellville Alabama.