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How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Auburn Alabama

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist school near Auburn AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning young 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 Education and Licensing

Dental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.

Dental Hygienist Online Classes

Auburn Alabama Dental Hygienist removing plaque from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist program may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Auburn AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.

What to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn AL employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best 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 establish professional relationships in the Auburn AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at 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 profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Auburn AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical 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 emergencies.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Auburn

Choose the Right Auburn Dental Hygienist School

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.



 

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