How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Anniston Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college 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 as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who is responsible for preventing and treating oral diseases. Dental hygienists perform much of their work independently, with only general supervision from a licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are an important part of dentist-led teams. Their work removes a considerable burden from the dentist, freeing up the dentist to perform more advanced procedures. Therefore, it is quite common for dental hygienists to perform many of the preventive dental procedures in an office, such as teeth cleaning, examining patients for oral diseases and other preventative dental care. Hygienists will scrape the tartar and plaque off of your teeth and polish them. Hygienists also usually take X-rays of your teeth and gums, give patients a fluoride rinse, and apply sealants to the teeth to ward off cavities. A hygienist will also review ways to care for your teeth and overall health at home, offering tips on ways to brush and floss, and on what foods to avoid or to eat for a healthy mouth.
Dental Hygienist Schooling and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Anniston AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Anniston Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.