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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama dental hygienist examining man's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Foley AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the program'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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Foley Alabama dental hygienist checking child's teeth

When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Foley AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:

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

In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Degree Options

Foley Alabama dental hygienist checking female patient's teethBecause of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Foley AL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Hygienist Schools

Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Foley AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.

Find Out More About Foley Dental Hygiene Programs

Subjects to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Foley AL, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Foley AL dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Foley AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get 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 develop professional relationships in the Foley AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Foley AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Foley AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, 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 significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Foley AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Foley AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, 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 illness, work or family issues.

Choose the Right Foley Dental Hygienist Courses

big smile with clean teeth by Foley Alabama dental hygienistChoosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed.  As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to 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 choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Foley Alabama.

 

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