How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist School Near East Florence Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist school near East Florence AL is an important first 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 far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job 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 East Florence 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 LicensingHow to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your East Florence AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied 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 good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. East Florence AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the East Florence AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the East Florence AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the East Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near East Florence AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best East Florence Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.