How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Selma Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Selma AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, 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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges 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 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 Training and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Selma AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically 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 furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Selma Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college 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. Selma AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Selma AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Selma AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Selma AL dental hygienist college 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 Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Selma AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Selma AL at nights 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Selma Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Selma Alabama.