How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Anniston Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Anniston AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Function of Dental Hygienists
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.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Anniston AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, 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 often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient 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, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Anniston AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance 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 in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Anniston AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anniston AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Anniston AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Anniston Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. 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 provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anniston Alabama.