How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Daphne Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Daphne AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing 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 significant issues to take into account as well, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
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 Hygienist Training and LicensingHow 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 Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Daphne AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Daphne AL employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Daphne AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges 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 Daphne AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Daphne AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Daphne AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Daphne Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of 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 education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to 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 right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.