How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Foley Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Foley AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the program'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 considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
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 Schooling 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
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Foley AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Foley 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, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Foley AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Foley AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Foley AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Foley 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 have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Foley Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama.