How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Millbrook AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college'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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job 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 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 Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Millbrook AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided 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 School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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. Millbrook AL employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Millbrook AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Millbrook AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Millbrook AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check 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 make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Millbrook AL at nights 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Millbrook Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Millbrook Alabama.