Students interested in dental hygiene programs in Alabama have few options from which to choose. Students may opt to earn an associate's degree in the field or complete a government training program; the government program is open only to currently employed dental assistants. Degree programs in dental hygiene include classroom instruction, hands-on training in a lab setting, and, often, clinical experiences or fieldwork.
Fortis Institute - Birmingham
Located in Birmingham, this school provides an associate's degree program in dental hygiene. About 1,000 undergraduate students are at this school. Students learn how to clean teeth, use x-rays and provide fillings. The normal time to complete this program is 132 weeks, and the school reported an 87.5% on-time completion rate.
George C Wallace State Community College - Hanceville
Wallace State Community College is located in Hanceville and offers an Associate in Applied Science degree program in dental hygiene. Completing the program qualifies students for national, regional and state licensing exams. Applicants to the program must have the following requirements: current CPR certification, physical exams, current immunizations, background checks and drug tests.
Students need to complete both general education and core dental hygiene coursework. Prerequisite courses include microbiology, anatomy, physiology and chemistry. Core courses include dental materials, dental radiology and periodontology. Students also participate in community dental health clinics and other clinical experiences in dental hygiene. The total amount of credits in the program amounts to 75-76 credits.
Dental hygienists must have a state license for work. In Alabama, aspiring dental hygienists can get licensed through the Alabama Board of Dental Examiners. Applicants need to graduate from a board-approved dental hygiene program and pass exams.
The American Dental Association currently accredits only two dental hygiene programs in Alabama; Wallace State Community College is a public institution, but Fortis Institute - Birmingham is a for-profit school. The Alabama Board of Dental Examiners also administers a state dental hygiene program. All three options qualify graduates for licensure.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Dental Hygiene Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)|
|Fortis Institute - Birmingham||2-year, private for-profit; midsize city||Associate's Degree in Dental Hygiene||$13,552*|
|Wallace State Community College - Hanceville||2-year, public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,320 in-state; $7,770 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.