How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Hueytown Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Hueytown AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
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 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hueytown AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied 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 several valid 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 nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hueytown AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers adequate 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, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Hueytown AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Hueytown AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Hueytown AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Hueytown AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be 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 college, 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 acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Hueytown AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Hueytown Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hueytown Alabama.