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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Auburn Alabama

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist school near Auburn AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

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The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride woman's teeth

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 Auburn 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 Schooling and Licensing

How 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 Programs

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist removing plaque from woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Auburn AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Auburn AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 costs 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 costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Auburn AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Auburn

Choose the Best Auburn Dental Hygienist Program

Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend 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 alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.



 

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