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How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Troy AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

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The Job of Dental Hygienists

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Troy Alabama dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:

  • Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
  • Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
  • Taking and developing dental x-rays
  • Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
  • Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly

Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.

Dental Hygienist Education and Licensing

How to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.

Online Dental Hygienist Classes

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist removing tartar from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Troy AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Troy AL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Troy AL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Troy AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Troy AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Troy

Pick the Right Troy Dental Hygienist Training

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 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 Troy Alabama.



 

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