How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Troy Alabama
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Troy AL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental 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 available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Troy AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal 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 teeth and gums and present their results 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Troy AL dental offices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may 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 balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Troy AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. 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 obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy AL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Troy AL dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Troy AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost 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 private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Troy AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Troy AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Troy Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.