How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Princeton Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Princeton AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
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 Hygienist Education 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 Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Princeton AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Princeton Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Princeton AL employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Princeton AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Princeton AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Princeton AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Princeton AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Princeton AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Princeton Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Princeton Alabama.