How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Course Near Millbrook Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Millbrook AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
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 Millbrook 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 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Millbrook AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. 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 required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many 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 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 ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Millbrook AL employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Millbrook AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get 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 form professional relationships in the Millbrook AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Millbrook AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Millbrook AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Millbrook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Millbrook Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.