How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Hoover Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Hoover AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously 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 colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role of Dental Hygienists
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 Hoover 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 can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Hoover AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice 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 discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Hoover Alabama, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hoover AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Hoover AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means 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 build professional relationships in the Hoover AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Hoover AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Hoover AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Hoover AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Hoover AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Hoover Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend 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 obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hoover Alabama.