How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Daphne Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Daphne AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
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 Daphne 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 Schooling 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 Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Daphne AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues 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 opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Daphne AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Daphne AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Daphne AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Daphne AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Daphne AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Daphne AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Daphne Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is crucial 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 numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.