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How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting 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 selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Role 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 Schooling 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.

Dental Hygienist Online Colleges

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Troy AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best 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 start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Troy AL employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose 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, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help 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 also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Troy AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Troy AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Troy

Choose the Best Troy Dental Hygienist Training

Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.



 

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