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How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama dental hygienist checking man's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist school near Troy AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including 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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Troy Alabama dental hygienist checking boy's teeth

When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Troy AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:

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

In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as 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, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Education Options

Troy Alabama dental hygienist checking woman's teethAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Troy AL dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs

Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Troy AL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.

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Questions to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy AL, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Troy AL dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Troy AL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Troy AL area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Troy AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Right Troy Dental Hygienist Training

great smile with white teeth by Troy Alabama dental hygienistChoosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed.  As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.

 

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