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How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Clanton Alabama

Clanton Alabama dental hygienist examining patient's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist program near Clanton AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Clanton Alabama dental hygienist checking boy's teeth

When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Clanton AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:

    • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
    • Educating patients about oral hygiene
    • Taking and developing X-rays
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Training Options

Clanton Alabama dental hygienist examining woman's teethAs a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Clanton AL dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Hygienist Classes

Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Clanton AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.

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What to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Clanton AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Clanton AL dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Clanton AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Clanton AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Clanton AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Clanton AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Clanton AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Clanton AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Pick the Best Clanton Dental Hygienist Courses

great smile with white teeth by Clanton Alabama dental hygienistChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 several options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Clanton Alabama.

 

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