How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Phenix City Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Phenix City AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the school'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
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 LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Phenix City AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school 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. Phenix City AL employers typically desire 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 colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Phenix City AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Phenix City AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Phenix City AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Phenix City AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Phenix City AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Phenix City Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama.