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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Foley AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Function of Dental Hygienists

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning young woman's teeth

When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Foley AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:

    • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
    • Applying fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Educating patients regarding oral care
    • Taking and developing X-rays
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Education Options

Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Foley Alabama dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs

Foley Alabama Dental Hygienist removing tartar from woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Foley AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.

What to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Foley AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides enough 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, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive 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 develop professional relationships in the Foley AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Foley AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. 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 Foley AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Foley AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Foley AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Foley

Choose the Right Foley Dental Hygienist School

Selecting the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish 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 receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama.



 

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