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How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Daphne Alabama

Daphne Alabama dental hygienist checking patient's teethPicking the ideal dental hygienist program near Daphne AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Daphne Alabama dental hygienist checking boy's teeth

When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Daphne AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:

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

In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Degree Options

Daphne Alabama dental hygienist examining female patient's teethAs a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Daphne AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 Schools

Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Daphne AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.

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Issues to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Daphne AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at 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 right dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Daphne AL dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Daphne AL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Daphne AL dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Daphne AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, 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 grants, loans and scholarships in the Daphne AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Daphne AL at nights 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Daphne Dental Hygienist Program

big smile with clean teeth by Daphne Alabama dental hygienistEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed.  As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Daphne Alabama.

 

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