How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Phenix City Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Phenix City AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the school'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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Phenix City Alabama dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
- Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
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 Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via 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 going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Phenix City AL employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested 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? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Phenix City AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering 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 large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Phenix City AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Phenix City AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to 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 clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Phenix City Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two 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 elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Phenix City Alabama.