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How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Course Near Prattville Alabama

Prattville Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethSelecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Prattville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the college'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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Prattville Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning woman's teeth

Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:

  • Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
  • Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
  • Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
  • Take dental x-rays and develop them
  • Administer local anesthetics to patients
  • Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
  • Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
  • Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental hygienists must also use several tools as part of their job. This includes hand, power, and ultrasonic tools for cleaning and polishing teeth, and x-ray machines for taking patient x-rays to check for issues with teeth and jaws.

Dental Hygienist Education and Licensing

How 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.

Dental Hygienist Online Colleges

Prattville Alabama Dental Hygienist removing plaque from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Prattville AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Prattville Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Prattville AL employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.

Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Prattville AL dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Prattville AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Prattville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based 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 private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Prattville AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Prattville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Prattville

Choose the Right Prattville Dental Hygienist School

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to 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 as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Prattville Alabama.



 

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