How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Albertville Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Albertville AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the school'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. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:
- Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
- Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
- Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
- Take dental x-rays and develop them
- Administer local anesthetics to patients
- Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
- Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
- Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental Hygienist Training and LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Albertville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Albertville Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach 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 right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Albertville AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Albertville AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Albertville AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Albertville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Albertville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Albertville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Albertville Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training 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 generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Albertville Alabama.