How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Hueytown Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Hueytown AL is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Function of Dental Hygienists
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 Training 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 can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hueytown AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start 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 may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of 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 condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hueytown AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Hueytown AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Hueytown AL dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Hueytown AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Hueytown AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Hueytown AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Hueytown Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right 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 we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount 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 generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama.