How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near East Florence Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near East Florence AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the school's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
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 Education and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your East Florence AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. East Florence AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local East Florence AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method 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 form professional relationships in the East Florence AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the East Florence AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the East Florence AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid 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 Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near East Florence AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best East Florence Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in East Florence Alabama.