How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Dothan Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Dothan AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
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.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Dothan AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools 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 ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dothan AL employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Dothan AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Dothan AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased 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 couple of classes at the Dothan AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Dothan AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Dothan AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Dothan Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama.