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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Auburn Alabama

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist program near Auburn AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

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The Job of Dental Hygienists

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning woman's teeth

Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:

  • Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
  • Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
  • Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
  • Take dental x-rays and develop them
  • Administer local anesthetics to patients
  • Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
  • Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
  • Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental hygienists must also use several tools as part of their job. This includes hand, power, and ultrasonic tools for cleaning and polishing teeth, and x-ray machines for taking patient x-rays to check for issues with teeth and jaws.

Dental Hygienist Training 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.

Online Dental Hygienist Classes

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist removing plaque from woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Auburn AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn AL employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way 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 also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Auburn AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Auburn

Pick the Right Auburn Dental Hygienist Program

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.



 

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