Students in Alabama who are interested in completing a dental hygiene program have few options from which to choose. For individuals with previous dental assisting experience, the state of Alabama offers its own dental hygiene training program. Completing this program will qualify students for the state-licensing exam. Additionally, one Alabama college offers a degree program in dental hygiene. Both programs include clinical training opportunities in addition to classroom and lab time.
Alabama Board of Dental Examiners
The Alabama Board of Dental Examiners provides a dental hygiene training program taught at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. This program is designed for employed dental assistants who can verify 24 months of employment with a licensed and practicing dentist. Traditional instruction and practical training take place under the supervision of a dentist instructor who has been certified by the program. The program does not confer a degree, but will qualify students to sit for the state-licensing exam.
Wallace State Community College
Located in Hanceville, Wallace State Community College offers an accredited dental hygiene program that confers an Associate in Applied Science. This program has selective admission, and students are advised to complete general education course requirements prior to application. The required general education courses can be taken through many other Alabama colleges that have linkage programs with Wallace State.
The 2-year program includes a summer session and requires full-time attendance. Students get the opportunity to gain hands-on practice through clinical rotations in the college's dental clinic, which offers low-cost dental hygiene services performed by students under supervision. Completion of the program qualifies students to sit for the Dental Hygiene National Board exam and state exams for licensure.
Dental hygienists need to be licensed for employment in Alabama. Aspiring dental hygienists can earn their licenses by passing the Alabama Dental Hygiene Board Exam. In order to qualify for licensure, aspiring dental hygienists must complete a board-approved training program.
Below are short overviews of the 2 dental hygiene programs and a comparison table with each program's features and cost available at a glance.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Dental Hygiene Programs Offered||Program Cost|
|Alabama Board of Dental Examiners||A government program; midsize city||Alabama Dental Hygiene Program||$700 (2015-2016)*|
|Wallace State Community College||2-year, public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,320 in-state; $7,770 out-of-state (2015-2016)**|
Source: *Alabama Board of Dental Examiners, **NCES College Navigator.