How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Anniston Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Anniston AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health. The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe fluoride and antimicrobial agents; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations. Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings which include private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
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.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for receiving your training. 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Anniston AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL employers typically 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 available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher 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 position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
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 instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure 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 attend classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Anniston Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing 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 in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.