How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College near Troy Alabama
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Troy AL is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Troy AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 have graduated 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Troy AL dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 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. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Troy AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy AL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Troy AL dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers 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, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Troy AL dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Troy AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Troy 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Troy Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 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 asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.