How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Trussville Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Trussville AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health. The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe fluoride and antimicrobial agents; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations. Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings which include private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Trussville AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Trussville AL employers typically 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 offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way 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 professional relationships in the Trussville AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Trussville AL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Trussville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Trussville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Trussville Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.