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How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist program near Troy AL is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride woman's teeth

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 hygienists must also use several tools as part of their job. This includes hand, power, and ultrasonic tools for cleaning and polishing teeth, and x-ray machines for taking patient x-rays to check for issues with teeth and jaws.

Dental Hygienist Training 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 Training

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning plaque from young woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes 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 desktop computer in the convenience of your Troy AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually 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 proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.

What 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 start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several 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 supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help 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 too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Troy AL dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Troy AL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered 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 make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Troy AL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Troy

Pick the Right Troy Dental Hygienist Training

Picking 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 we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.



 

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