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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethPicking the right dental hygienist school near Phenix City AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Job of Dental Hygienists

Phenix City Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Phenix City AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:

    • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
    • Teaching patients about oral hygiene
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Schooling Options

Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Phenix City Alabama dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs

Phenix City Alabama Dental Hygienist removing tartar from woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Phenix City AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed 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 provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

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 students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make 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 best dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Phenix City AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers sufficient 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, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Phenix City AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 create professional relationships in the Phenix City AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Phenix City AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make 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 need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Phenix City 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Phenix City

Pick the Best Phenix City Dental Hygienist Program

Picking the right dental hygienist course 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 several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama.



 

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