How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene School near Scottsboro Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Scottsboro AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Scottsboro AL practice and the dentists. 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 every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Scottsboro AL dental offices are generally required to have 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 technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Scottsboro AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting 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 clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Scottsboro AL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Scottsboro AL dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Scottsboro AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 Scottsboro AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Scottsboro AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Scottsboro AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, 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 receiving your education and have to attend classes near Scottsboro AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Scottsboro Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically 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 elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Scottsboro Alabama.