How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Tuscumbia Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Tuscumbia AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Tuscumbia AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Tuscumbia AL dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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| Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good 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 remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Tuscumbia AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added 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 clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tuscumbia AL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Tuscumbia AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers adequate 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, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Tuscumbia AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Tuscumbia AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Tuscumbia AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Tuscumbia AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Tuscumbia AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have 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 due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Tuscumbia AL?
Tuscumbia was the hometown of Helen Keller (Ivy Green) and much of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Tuscumbia Historic District. The city serves as the location for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Tuscumbia had its beginnings when the Michael Dixon family arrived about 1816. They traded with Chief Tucumseh for the Tuscumbia Valley and built their home at the head of the big spring. From these humble dwellings quickly developed a village known as the Big Spring Community. The men of the community requested that the state legislature incorporate them as a city. The town was incorporated in 1820 as Ococoposa and is one of Alabama's oldest towns. In 1821, its name was changed to Big Spring and on December 22, 1822, to Tuscumbia, after the Chief Rainmaker of the Chickasaws.
Although shoals on the nearby Tennessee River made the river nearly impassable, a federal highway completed in 1820 provided the area with good access to markets. Tuscumbia soon became the center for agriculture in northern Alabama. A line to the town on the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was completed in 1832, and by 1850 Tuscumbia was a major railroad hub for train traffic throughout the South.
Tuscumbia is located northeast of the center of Colbert County at 34°43′51″N 87°42′10″W / 34.73083°N 87.70278°W / 34.73083; -87.70278 (34.730839, -87.702854). It is bordered to the north by the city of Sheffield and to the northeast by the city of Muscle Shoals. The Tennessee River is 1 mile (1.6 km) to the northwest.
Enroll in the Best Dental Hygienist College near Tuscumbia AL
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tuscumbia AL.
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