How to Choose a Dental Hygienist School near Conway Arkansas
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Conway AR is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Conway AR dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Conway AR dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well| A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Conway AR home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Conway AR, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing 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 best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Conway AR employers typically desire 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 offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Conway AR dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical 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 build professional relationships in the Conway AR dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Conway AR dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Conway AR dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Conway AR area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Conway AR in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Conway AR?
Conway is a city in the American state of Arkansas and the county seat of Faulkner County, located in the state's most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area, Central Arkansas. Although sometimes considered a suburb of Little Rock, Conway is unique in that the majority of its residents do not commute out of the city to work. The city also serves as a regional shopping, educational, work, healthcare, sports, and cultural hub for Faulkner County and surrounding areas. Conway's growth can be attributed to its jobs in technology and higher education with its largest employers being Acxiom, the University of Central Arkansas, Hewlett Packard, Hendrix College, Insight Enterprises, and many technology start up companies. Conway is home to three post-secondary educational institutions, earning it the nickname "The City of Colleges".
As of the 2016 Census Estimate, the city proper had a total population of 65,000, making Conway the seventh largest city in Arkansas. Central Arkansas, the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area, is ranked 75th largest in the United States with 734,622 people in 2016. Conway is part of the larger Little Rock–North Little Rock, AR Combined Statistical Area, which in 2016 had a population of 905,847, and ranked the country's 60th largest CSA.
The city of Conway was founded by Asa P. Robinson, who came to the area shortly after the Civil War. Robinson was the chief engineer for the Little Rock-Fort Smith Railroad (now the Union Pacific). Part of his compensation was the deed to a tract of land, one square mile, located near the old settlement of Cadron. When the railroad came through, Robinson deeded a small tract of his land back to the railroad for a depot site. He laid off a town site around the depot and named it "Conway Station", in honor of a famous Arkansas family. Conway Station contained two small stores, two saloons, a depot, some temporary housing and a post office. Despite being founded as a railroad town, there currently exists no passenger service. The disappearance of passenger rail service in the region is attributed to the emphasis placed on the automobile.
In 1878, Father Joseph Strub, a priest in the Roman Catholic Holy Ghost Fathers, arrived in Arkansas. A native of Alsace-Lorraine, Strub was expelled from Prussia during the Kulturkampf in 1872. He moved to the United States, settling in Pittsburgh, where he founded Duquesne University in October 1878. Difficulties with Bishop John Tuigg led Strub to leave Pittsburgh in late October 1878 to travel to Conway. In 1879, Strub convinced the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad to deed 200,000 acres (810 km2) along the northern side of the Arkansas River to the Holy Ghost Fathers in order to found the St. Joseph Colony. This included land on which Father Strub founded and built St. Joseph Catholic Church of Conway. As part of the land deal, the railroad offered land at 20 cents per acre to every German immigrant. In order to attract Roman Catholic Germans to Conway and the surrounding areas, Father Strub wrote The Guiding Star for the St. Joseph Colony. In addition to extolling the qualities of Conway and the surrounding area, Father Strub provided information on how best to travel from Europe to Conway. By 1889, over 100 German families had settled in Conway, giving the town many of its distinctively German street and business names.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Conway AR
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Conway AR.
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