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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Course Near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist college near Troy AL is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the college'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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

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The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Troy AL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:

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

In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Schooling Options

Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Troy Alabama dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.

Dental Hygienist Online Classes

Troy Alabama Dental Hygienist cleaning tartar from woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Troy AL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.

What to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Troy AL employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method 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 establish professional relationships in the Troy AL dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased 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 witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find 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 school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend 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 clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Troy

Choose the Right Troy Dental Hygienist Program

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.



 

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