How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Troy Alabama
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Troy AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:
- Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
- Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
- Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
- Take dental x-rays and develop them
- Administer local anesthetics to patients
- Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
- Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
- Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingHow 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 Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Troy AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community 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 education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Troy AL employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Troy AL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges 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? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer 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 instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Troy AL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides 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 enroll in an online school, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Troy Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose 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 right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.