How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Trussville Alabama
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Trussville AL is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties 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 Schooling 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Trussville 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. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Trussville AL employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Trussville AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get 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 build professional relationships in the Trussville AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Trussville AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Trussville AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Trussville AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Trussville AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Trussville Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training 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 schools usually earn 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Trussville Alabama.