How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Daphne Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Daphne 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 doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the college'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. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Job 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 Education and LicensingDental 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Daphne AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Daphne AL employers often 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 Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Daphne AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Daphne AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Daphne AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Daphne 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Daphne Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course 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 several options offered to receive your training 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.