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How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethPicking the ideal dental hygienist school near Troy AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride woman's teeth

Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health. The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe fluoride and antimicrobial agents; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations.  Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings which include private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities. 

Dental Hygienist Training and Licensing

Individuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.

Dental Hygienist Online Programs

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning tartar from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist program can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Troy AL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.

Issues 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 schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Troy AL employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Troy AL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Troy AL area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring 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 be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Troy

Choose the Best Troy Dental Hygienist Training

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.



 

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