How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Phenix City Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Phenix City AL is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns 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 offered.
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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 Schooling 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 Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Phenix City AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Phenix City AL employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Phenix City AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive 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 build professional relationships in the Phenix City AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Phenix City AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Phenix City AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Phenix City AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Phenix City AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 emergencies.
Pick the Right Phenix City Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education 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 schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama.