How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Trussville Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Trussville AL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of Dental Hygienists
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 LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Trussville AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Trussville AL employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 Trussville AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Trussville AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Trussville 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 accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Trussville AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Trussville Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.