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How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Lincoln Alabama

Lincoln Alabama dental hygienist cleaning patient's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Lincoln AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Lincoln Alabama dental hygienist examining boy's teeth

When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Lincoln AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:

    • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
    • Applying fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Instructing patients regarding oral care
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed in nearly 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 licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Degree Options

Lincoln Alabama dental hygienist cleaning female patient's teethDue to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lincoln AL dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Hygienist Colleges

Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lincoln AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.

Learn More About Lincoln Dental Hygienist Schools

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lincoln AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program 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. Lincoln AL dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Lincoln AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 Lincoln AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lincoln AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Lincoln AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lincoln AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Lincoln AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Lincoln Dental Hygienist Training

big smile with clean teeth by Lincoln Alabama dental hygienistSelecting the right dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed.  As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lincoln Alabama.

 

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