How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Dothan Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Dothan AL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover 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 review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Role 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 Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program 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 personal computer in the comfort of your Dothan AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive 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 option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dothan AL employers typically prefer 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 schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Dothan AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way 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 form professional relationships in the Dothan AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement 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 community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Dothan AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check 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 college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Dothan AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dothan Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many 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 education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama.