How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Auburn Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Auburn AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties 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 Education 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 Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical 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 accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Questions 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 programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Auburn AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Auburn AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost 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, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need 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 practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Auburn Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.