How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Course Near Troy Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Troy AL is an important first 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the college'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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties 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 assists the Troy 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 sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Troy Alabama dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for receiving 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 remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Troy AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Troy AL employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in 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, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Troy AL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance 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 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 add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Troy AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Troy AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Troy Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively 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 programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.