How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Scottsboro Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Scottsboro AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the program'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 complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Scottsboro AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed 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
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Scottsboro AL dental offices are usually 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Scottsboro AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Scottsboro AL dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical 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. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical 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 type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Scottsboro AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Scottsboro AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Scottsboro AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Scottsboro AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Scottsboro AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Scottsboro AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Scottsboro Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend 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 acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Scottsboro Alabama.