How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Bessemer Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Bessemer AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the school'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 lengthier 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 programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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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 Schooling and LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for obtaining 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 rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bessemer AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed 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 method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bessemer Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bessemer AL employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Bessemer AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get 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 create professional relationships in the Bessemer AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bessemer AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Bessemer AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bessemer AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Bessemer AL at nights 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Bessemer Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bessemer Alabama.