How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Anniston Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the program'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. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Anniston Alabama dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
- Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingHow to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anniston AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools 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 Anniston AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate 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 whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Anniston Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.