How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene College Near East Florence Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near East Florence AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:
- Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
- Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
- Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
- Take dental x-rays and develop them
- Administer local anesthetics to patients
- Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
- Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
- Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
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 Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your East Florence AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option 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 start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. East Florence AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the East Florence AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the East Florence AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the East Florence AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near East Florence AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right East Florence Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education 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 programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.