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How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Troy AL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning woman's teeth

When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. 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 usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:

    • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Training Options

Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Troy Alabama dental offices 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 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.

Dental Hygienist Online Classes

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist removing tartar from young woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Troy AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at 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 ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Troy AL employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method 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 build professional relationships in the Troy AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Troy AL dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available 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 assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Troy AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Troy

Choose the Right Troy Dental Hygienist Training

Choosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.



 

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