How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Dothan Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Dothan AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, 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 expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health. The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe fluoride and antimicrobial agents; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations. Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings which include private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Dental Hygienist Education 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 Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Dothan AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice 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 covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Dothan AL employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Dothan AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective 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 create professional relationships in the Dothan AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Dothan AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary 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 if 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Dothan AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Dothan AL at nights 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dothan Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important 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 many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Dothan Alabama.