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How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene School near Selma Alabama

Selma Alabama dental hygienist cleaning patient's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist college near Selma AL is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the school'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Selma Alabama dental hygienist examining boy's teeth

When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Selma AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one 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 present their results to the dentists. They may also perform 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
    • Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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

Dental Hygienist Training Options

Selma Alabama dental hygienist examining woman's teethDue to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Selma AL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Dental Hygienist Online Colleges

Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Selma AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community 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 style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.

Learn More About Selma Dental Hygiene Degree Programs

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Selma AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Selma AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Selma AL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Selma AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Selma AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Selma AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? 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 acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Selma AL in the evenings 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 practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Selma Dental Hygienist Courses

smile with white teeth by Selma Alabama dental hygienistChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want 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 acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Selma Alabama.

 

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