How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Troy Alabama
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Troy AL is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
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 Education and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Troy AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
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 opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Troy AL employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Troy AL dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Troy AL dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide 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 most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume 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 costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Troy AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Troy AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Troy Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative 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 a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Troy Alabama.