How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Course Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Mountain Brook AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the college'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 cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Function of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who is responsible for preventing and treating oral diseases. Dental hygienists perform much of their work independently, with only general supervision from a licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are an important part of dentist-led teams. Their work removes a considerable burden from the dentist, freeing up the dentist to perform more advanced procedures. Therefore, it is quite common for dental hygienists to perform many of the preventive dental procedures in an office, such as teeth cleaning, examining patients for oral diseases and other preventative dental care. Hygienists will scrape the tartar and plaque off of your teeth and polish them. Hygienists also usually take X-rays of your teeth and gums, give patients a fluoride rinse, and apply sealants to the teeth to ward off cavities. A hygienist will also review ways to care for your teeth and overall health at home, offering tips on ways to brush and floss, and on what foods to avoid or to eat for a healthy mouth.
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally 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 Mountain Brook AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mountain Brook Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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. Mountain Brook AL employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Mountain Brook AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain 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 develop professional relationships in the Mountain Brook AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Mountain Brook AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Mountain Brook AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire 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 variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Mountain Brook AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Mountain Brook AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Mountain Brook Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mountain Brook Alabama.