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How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Dothan Alabama

Dothan Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Dothan AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Dothan Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Dothan AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:

    • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Educating patients about oral care
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Education Options

Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Dothan Alabama dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Hygienist Colleges

Dothan Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning tartar from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist college may be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% 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 Dothan AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.

Subjects to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program 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 frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Dothan AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help 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 are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering 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 Dothan AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Dothan AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Dothan AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Dothan AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Dothan

Pick the Right Dothan Dental Hygienist School

Choosing 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 we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama.



 

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