How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene School near Russellville Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Russellville AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account 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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Russellville AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing 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
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Russellville AL dental practices are normally required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Russellville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Russellville AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Russellville AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Russellville AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Russellville AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be 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 school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Russellville AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Russellville 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Russellville Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Russellville Alabama.